Kenny Rogers Comments on Chart History

08/26/2011
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(Webster) According to Billboard, Kenny Rogers' 28 Adult Contemporary Top 10's are sixth-best all-time, and fourth-best among men, trailing only Elton John, Neil Diamond and Elvis Presley.

Kenny Rogers' feats on the AC chart include 47 hits, tying him with Barry Manilow for seventh-most in the chart's history. No core country artist has crossed over more titles to AC. Rogers has scored eight AC No. 1s.

Rogers: "I remember when [the AC charts] were established, I thought it was so cool. I've always been a believer in the strength of the song. My problem is I'm a country singer who's had a lot of other musical influences, so my stuff is going to tend to be more AC. That's always been my slam in country music, that I was never a true country artist, even though "Coward of the County," "Daytime Friends," "Buy Me a Rose," "The Gambler," those kinds of things, were truly country records. When you add to that "Through the Years," "You Believe in Me," "You Decorated My Life," those were not country, but because I had power at country music, they sold country.

"Country always wanted to really be country, and I don't blame them - be what you want to be. I spoke at a country seminar one year, and I told them, "Guys, what you're trying to do is protect a type of music, and those of us who are out there doing it are trying to protect careers. We're trying to last longer, touch more people with our music. I guarantee you in three years you won't be playing Garth Brooks or Shania Twain." This was in the peak of their careers-and they all laughed at me. Sure enough, three years later, they weren't playing them. So what are [these artists] supposed to do if they don't have some other source of income [or] airplay other than country? When that's over, our careers are over.

"[My crossover hits] turned a lot of people toward country music that wouldn't have come to it otherwise. When they realized I was singing country sentiment with a little more accessible tonality, then I think they came in. And the great thing about country is once you come in, you don't leave. It's such a pure music.

"I never set out to be on the AC charts; I set out to do good songs. When I was on the charts I paid a lot of attention to them. I used to love to pick up the charts and see where songs were, where they were going, how they were doing. I've always tried to find songs that say what every man would like to say and every woman would like to hear. When you think of "Through the Years," "You Decorated My Life," "Lady," that's what those are. What man wouldn't want to say, "Lady, I'm your night in shining armor and I love you," and what lady wouldn't want to hear that?"

As told to Ray Waddell.

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