Kenny Rogers’ Resurfaced ‘Goodbye’ Is a True Parting Gift [Listen]
Kenny Rogers' "Goodbye" is a true parting gift. The recently-resurfaced song, previously released only on a greatest hits collection, was sent to country radio on Friday (March 27), following Rogers' death at the age of 81 on March 20.
Although "Goodbye" is a breakup song, its chorus feels bigger and more meaningful in light of Rogers' passing: "So goodbye, Marie, oh, goodbye, Marie / Out the window, there's a lonesome highway callin' me / It was fun, Marie, but I got to run, Marie, if I cannot keep your love / At least I'll have your memory, goodbye, Marie," the country icon sings.
"'Goodbye was one of the last recordings Kenny did for Capitol Records. Those closest to Kenny wanted to make this track available to all of his fans," an email sent to country radio programmers explains. To Billboard, former Capitol Nashville head and now UMG Nashville CEO Mike Dungan — who also worked with Rogers while at RCA Records — explains that "Goodbye" came to be after Rogers released Water & Bridges on Capitol Nashville in March of 2006.
The No. 5 album, which features the Top 20 single "I Can't Unlove You," was produced by Dann Huff. From there, Capitol Records asked Rogers to think about recording concept albums, but the star had other ideas.
“He goes on the sly and cut some songs with Tony Brown," including "Goodbye," which was written by Rogers' good friend Lionel Richie, Dungan shares. "I didn’t think they were strong enough to get [on] the radio."
The label and Rogers split after that. In 2009, "Goodbye" became one of three previously unreleased songs to appear on Kenny Rogers: The First 50 Years, a compilation from Time-Life.
"He really says goodbye in that song,” Dungan says of the song. “I don’t know what was going on in his head when he cut it."
Dungan says Rogers cut "around five tracks" with Brown, and executives at Capitol are gathering them for review. "I don’t know if we’re going to put them out. We don’t want to look like we’re opportunistic," Dungan shays, "but if they’re good songs, then the fans should hear them."
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