KENNY’S FINAL EXIT: By Joe Van Langenberg
With the passing of country colossus Kenny Rogers at the age of 81, the Galaxy has once again, as many times before, lost one of its most dazzling stars, while the industry has lost one of its most gifted & versatile entertainers.
The bearded silver-haired singer, who held sway for decades on end, dominated the music charts worldwide, with hits vis-a-vis “The Gambler”, “Coward of the County” & “Lucille” among many others. His smooth-as-silk cover version of Bob Segar’s original “We’ve got tonight”, which he collaborated with Sheena Easton, became one of his signature songs.
Kenny’s vocal range was phenomenal, his timbre flawless, his timing impeccable & his ability to hit the high notes, second to none. Notwithstanding Kenny having many friends in high places, he never at any stage, reckoned he was the be-all & end-all of perfection. He was one with a generous streak, accessible to his fans, despite his busy work schedule & at hand whenever time permitted; to assist those aspiring to carve out a niche for themselves in the competitive industry; where many are called, but few are chosen. “Islands in the stream”, another song which he sang with one of his life-long mates Dolly Parton; became yet another of his success stories. Their friendship & respect for one another, stood the test of time.
Kenny Rogers was a consummate performer, who by virtue of his dedication towards his millions of fans worldwide & his strong work ethic, never fell short of their high expectations. His unforgettable “Lady” duet with Lionel Richie, which was spiced with humour & laughter, became the most talked-about performance in recent times. Blessed with good looks, the ability to interact with the most fastidious of audiences, a hypnotising stage persona & golden tonsils to match, Kenny Rogers was one of the most revered country artistes who ever placed his indelible footprint on the industry’s hallowed turf. Millions have been shocked & saddened by the news of his unexpected demise, which is triggering ongoing echoes in the corridors of music.
More recently, Kenny had been afflicted with crippling arthritis; which reluctantly compelled him to cancel a few tours. A voice which had the power to touch a multitude of lives, has now been stilled for all eternity, by the icy hand of death. Kenny Rogers leaves behind five children. He was married five times. May he rest in eternal peace beyond the Pearly Gates!