It was 1976, and my friend Lee and I were working radio in Oklahoma City, coincidentally on the day Kenny and the First Edition would play their final show there as a group before Kenny went solo. We ran into my late friend John Kirksey from Columbia Records, and he invited us to lunch with Kenny and his new bride Marianne Gordon, a girl from the TV Show Hee Haw. We were at a very chic restaurant and were the only guests. We sat at a round table and discussed Kenny's career and his coming turn as a solo act; I don't think anyone including him realized how big he would be at United Artists with the great Producer Larry Butler. Kenny was from a big family in Houston and I knew his brother Leeland, who was on our side of the record business and whom we called the "Silver Fox."
Marianne seemed to have her head on straight, and she and Kenny would be married for 15 years and have a son, Cody. Kenny invited Lee and I to the show that night and we were given ring-side seats, like all final performances it was happy and sad, but that group was hot.
Mr. Rogers would go on to have a great career: 120 singles on various charts, and albums that topped the Pop or Country Charts for over 200 cumulative weeks! From his modest beginnings in Houston, Kenny Rogers would go on to sell over 100 million records and became wealthy beyond his wildest dreams.
I think part of Kenny's charm was his down-home attitude and friendliness to all, even as he became rich and famous. I love Scott's comment: ("#5 on the chart in 1967 but introduced to a whole new generation of music fans in The Big Lebowski.") So here he is Live with the First Edition doing their hit, "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)," wearing what I think are the same uniforms that they wore on that memorable evening. @therealdonrocks
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