Analyzing One of Kenny Rogers' Biggest Hits - "The Gambler"

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    By Partner EditorialsMar 6, 2020, 4:38 pm717 pts

    November 15, 1978, was a big day for the music industry. It was also a remarkable day for slots fans who first heard a song called "The Gambler" by Kenny Rogers. At the time, Rogers was already one of the most successful male vocalists, but this was the record he needed to catapult his career higher and reach a new status.

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    Following "The Gambler" Rogers also tried his luck in the TV industry, launching a string of TV movies. Kicking around the music business for decades before finding new success as a country singer, he was part of many bands. But in his late 30s, he was divorced, not part of a band, and deeply in debt without any prospect for work.

    "The Gambler" Is Not A Song About Slots And Casino

    Kenny Rogers re-invented himself and recorded "The Gambler", which is not a song about slots and casinos. The song is about a gambler who plays poker, knows his cards, prefers having a cigarette, and knows when to hold'em (again, regarding poker).

    Written by a young Nashville writer named Don Schlitz, this was the new single that gave Rogers the confidence he longed for. At the time, Rogers commented about the song and the success that it had on worldwide charts.

    Still, what needs to be said is that Rogers was not the first artist to record "The Gambler". Schlitz recorded it as well as another famous country artist, Bobby Bare. Johnny Cash also recorded the song, but his version was not officially released until Rogers' version became a global hit.

    The longtime producer standing behind Kenny Rogers knew that "The Gambler" had the potential to become a viral song. Along with "She Believes in Me", this song was an instant success and made it to the Top 20 on the pop albums chart as well. In 1979, the popularity also led Rogers to win a Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for this song.

    Success Turned Rogers Into A Movie Star

    Slots fans such as those on 918kiss like to reflect on "The Gambler" and see it as their motivation for winning. For Rogers, however, this song forged a new career path. He took on his first acting role, where he performed as the gambler Brady Hawkes in the 1980 film "Kenny Rogers as the Gambler" based on the success of the record.

    The movie was where the first correlation to slots for "The Gambler" started. A lot of casino fans watched the film and praised Rogers' character. If you ask a person who listens to country songs about this particular hit, all you will hear is that the song is a true classic.

    The lyrics, on the other hand, are now part of collective consciousness. Even though many people don't know that Kenny Rogers sang this song (or that Don Schlitz wrote it), country music fans still recite the lyrics to this song.

    The Gambler album is still available for purchase on Amazon.

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