Kenny Rogers was not just a songwriter or singer to us, growing up in the late seventies and early eighties admist the majestic granduer of the Himalayas – you could be sure of that booming, baritone floating across the hills and dales from almost every household. The cabbies used to blare the songs of Kenny on their taxi stereos while plying the flower powered to their destinations.
Kenny Rogers and his songs are always legendary with most of them carrying a storyline which used to push our imaginations towards the American way of life – the faraway “American Dream” that each one of us cherished and carried in our hearts! His signature beard of the salt and peppery look, the acoustic guitar in hand and a cowboy hat on his head – forget the girls and the boys, it even left the ladies swooning for more and the men replicating his looks to that of the “Poor Man Rogers” one. We not only listened to his songs on our tapes, records or LPs and our walkmans but we even sang them on our birthdays, marriages, singing competitions and school concerts. The lyrics were memorised and fitted into our heads and we could start off even without those bulky Archie’s song books.
Kenny Rogers was not only an integral part of our lives but his songs or more so stories have left us with life’s lessons that is gonna stay with us forever. “The Gambler” taught us that gamblers were not exactly wastrels as we had always imagined them to be, they were the men with instincts who knew how to maneuver through the ups and down of life, knowing ..” when to hold em…fold em and when to walk away..” “Lucille” was the love ballad that he wrote and sang filling our hearts with the sadness that comes with loving and giving and the intricacies of the man – woman relationship that remains unanswered till date. And of course the biggest lesson of our lives came with the rendition of the “Coward of the County” where the son unbreaks the promise to his dead father lamenting that, ” …please don’t think I’m weak, I didn’t turn the other cheek…I sure I hope you understand..sometimes you’ve gotta fight to be a man..” With this iconic songwriters lament through the voice of the Coward we learnt the biggest lesson of our lives!!
Thank you Kenny Rogers for being there in our growing years!