The Inspiration Behind Kenny Rogers’ Album ‘The Love of God’

It’s not uncommon for secular artists to release a religious album or song at some point in their careers. Some artists that might come to mind are Elvis Presley and Al Green. Back in 2011, Kenny Rogers released a religious album titled The Love of God. Here’s what he once revealed about the inspiration behind this album.

Kenny Rogers says his mother was a religious woman

Kenny Rogers | Paul Natkin/Getty Images
Kenny Rogers | Paul Natkin/Getty Images

In his autobiography, Luck or Something Like It, Rogers discusses his religious upbringing. He says he used to get on the bus and attend First Baptist Church with his mother. “I loved going to our church,” wrote Rogers. “It was huge, with maybe a thousand members, and it had youth and sports programs.” Rogers sang in the junior choir. He described the church music as “a beautiful, spiritual sound.” 

Rogers said his faith is what prompted him to stay with his then-girlfriend, Janice Gordon, after she became pregnant with their first child, Carole. Rogers wanted to do what he thought was the right thing, so he married Gordon before their daughter was born. However, things didn’t go as planned and the couple divorced after a little over a year.

Kenny Rogers would sing Christian songs with his family around his grandfather’s porch

Rogers often spent time with his grandfather, Byrd Rogers, at his farm in East Texas. During his time there, Rogers said he would join his family as they played live music. Most of the songs were from church. “Grandfather Rogers was steely eyed with a long, white handlebar mustache,” wrote Rogers in his book. “He wore khaki pants, starched shirts with rolled-up sleeves, and suspenders he called ‘galluses’ or something close to that.”

Rogers said his father would pack the children up in his pickup truck and go to their grandfather’s house so he could play music with his brothers and sisters. “My uncles all brought their instruments to these family reunions,” wrote Rogers. “My dad brought his fiddle, one of his brothers had an organ that he pulled out on the porch to play, and my uncle Willie and uncle Judd both played guitar. This was a band.”

Kenny Rogers’ ‘The Love of God’ album was inspired by the songs he used to sing with his family

Kenny Rogers in 1981 |  Ross Marino/Getty Images
Kenny Rogers in 1981 | Ross Marino/Getty Images

The inspiration for The Love of God came from Rogers’ family gatherings. “A lot of the songs were hymns, and 60 years later they would inspire my 2011 album, The Love of God,” wrote Rogers.  The country singer said a lot of the songs on the album were the ones his father and uncle played on his grandfather’s porch when Rogers was a child.

Among the songs on Rogers’ album are “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” “Amazing Grace,” and “In the Sweet By and By.” The singer says this last song was his mother’s favorite. “She sung it over and over ad nauseam,” said Rogers. “But when you love a song, you love a song.”

Read more: The Story Behind Kenny Rogers’ Song ‘Lucille’

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