With driving artistic instinct, a trademark husky voice made for storytelling, polished showmanship and effortless charisma, Kenny Rogers conquered radio, television and film en route to becoming a beloved American icon. The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum will pay tribute to Rogers with the cameo exhibition Kenny Rogers: Through the Years, which opens in the museum’s East Gallery on August 15, 2014, and runs through June 14, 2015.
“Kenny Rogers redefined and elevated country music superstardom in every sense,” said Museum Director Kyle Young. “He blurred traditional genre lines and substantially expanded the core demographics of country music’s audience, all by being true to his unique artistic vision. His versatility is astounding. We could not be more thrilled to share this detailed presentation of his story.”
Rogers has sold more than 100 million records worldwide. What’s more, he has charted a single in each of the last seven decades—including 21 Billboard #1 country hits. According to the RIAA, he has one diamond album, 19 platinum albums, and 31 gold albums. He has earned three Grammys, six Country Music Association awards (including a 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award), eight Academy of Country Music awards—including Entertainer of the Year in 1978—and was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013.
From the enduring wisdom of “The Gambler” and the forlorn tales of “Lucille” and “Ruby (Don’t Take Your Love to Town),” to the success of his collaborations with Dottie West, Dolly Parton and others, Rogers took hallmarks of classic country music, such as rich storytelling and iconic duets, and made them larger than life—and very much his own. That’s just skimming the surface of his musical contributions alone. In the 1980s, he starred in the five-part Gambler series that attracted more than 100 million television viewers. In addition to his achievements as vocalist and actor, his accomplishments as musician, photographer, author, Off-Broadway star, entrepreneur, and humanitarian round out his résumé.
Rogers was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013 and received the CMA Lifetime Achievement Award the same year, but he shows no signs of slowing down. In 2013, he released his latest album, You Can’t Make Old Friends, and the title cut, a duet with Parton, earned the pair their third Grammy nomination. Rogers is currently performing on his Through the Years World Tour, which has included performances at such popular festivals as Bonnaroo, Stagecoach and Britain’s Glastonbury Festival.
Kenny Rogers: Through the Years will be accompanied by an ongoing series of programs throughout the exhibit’s duration.