August 21, 2020, would have been Kenny Rogers’ 82nd birthday, and as much as he is missed we are thankful that his music lives on. Rogers’ estate has just released a new live video of “The Gambler” and announced plans for a Greatest Hits Live album to soon follow.
Rogers passed away peacefully at home on March 20, 2020, from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family.
The newly released version of the song was recorded during Kenny’s performance at Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Oregon on April 13, 1985 as part of his 1985 North American tour.
View this post on Instagram
In Honor of Kenny Rogers' birthday today, The Estate is releasing for the first time ever "The Gambler" (LIVE), captured during a performance in Portland, OR in 1985. Hear it wherever you listen to music. This is the first single being released from the forthcoming Kenny Rogers album GREATEST HITS LIVE (more details soon)!
According to CMT, Rogers’ widow, Wanda said in a statement following the release:
“It seemed fitting that the first release from the estate would be one of Kenny’s most beloved songs. “The Gambler” was one of Kenny’s biggest hits and his live performance of the track in concert was always a highlight of any show. “The Gambler” became more than a song for Kenny, it became part of his persona. This live recording from 1985 is Kenny at the top of his game.”
Wanda also posted a heartfelt message to Rogers on her Instagram saying:
“Happy Heavenly Birthday.. to the other 1/2 of my heart.. you loved us fully.. life will never be the same without you here with us..”
“The Gambler,” written by Don Schlitz, was Rogers’ fourth #1 solo hit and one of five consecutive songs by the music icon to hit No. 1 on the Billboard country music chart. “The Gambler” also went to #3 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and #16 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was the first #1 hit Schlitz had written. The song won a 1978 Grammy for Best Country Song and became CMA’s 1979 Song of the Year. Rogers won a 1979 Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for “The Gambler,” and also earned CMA’s 1979 Male Vocalist of the Year. In addition, his album, The Gambler, won CMA honors as 1979 Album of the Year.
Watch the live version of Kenny Rogers performing “The Gambler” below.