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Kenny Rogers Thrilled ‘The Gambler’ Is the No. 1 Country Song of All Time

Kenny Rogers
Larry Busacca, Getty Images

Kenny Rogers and his 1978 smash ‘The Gambler’ are sitting at No. 1 on Taste of Country’s list of the Top 100 Country Songs of all time. The moment the country superstar heard the news, he was quick to respond with his appreciation for our recognizing this timeless classic.

“First of all, let me say how much I appreciate this great honor,” said the man who’s conquered every form of entertainment, including his own off-Broadway play, acclaimed photography books and several television and movie roles. One of those television success stories was even based on the ‘The Gambler’ album cover, which inspired the longest-running mini-series in television history.

Rogers — a legendary crooner known for massive crossover hits like ‘Lady,’ ‘Through the Years’ and ‘Coward of the County’ — credits a legendary songwriter for penning his signature song.

“Two weeks ago, I was in New York on behalf of writer Don Schlitz for his induction into the National Songwriters Hall of Fame,” Rogers explains. “‘The Gambler,’ I think, played a major role in his acceptance. There are songs that help build careers, and there are songs that can actually make a career.”

Kenny Rogers is not only a legend in country music, but he’s a pop culture icon who’s never really been out of style, thanks to appearances on shows like ‘Reno 911,’ ‘How I Met Your Mother,’ ‘David Letterman,’ ‘Jimmy Fallon’ and — of course — the famous episode of ‘Seinfeld’ that featured Kramer’s love of Kenny Rogers Roasters’ chicken.

More impressively, even after 120 million records sold worldwide, 65 albums and 54 years in show business, at 73 years old, Rogers is not planning to slow down. Following glowing reviews at the 2012 Bonnaroo Music Festival and two sold out artist-in-residence concerts at the Country Music Hall of Fame, his world tour rolls on with more U.S. dates, a tour of Australia, New Zealand and Asia, complete with a new setlist, new stories and songs that the legend hasn’t included in his stage shows in many years.

Rogers is also putting the finishing touches on his first autobiography, Luck or Something Like It, which is scheduled for an October release. Later this summer, he’ll enter the studio to begin recording a brand new album for Warner Bros. Records with producer Dann Huff.

Putting everything else aside, Rogers admits that he’ll always be known as ‘The Gambler,’ and he’s okay with that. “When you look back on my life, this was, and always will be, a defining moment in my musical history,” he says. “I consider myself so fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time to do this incredible song.”

See the Top 100 Country Songs List

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