Kenny Rogers Described the Day Music ‘Changed His Life’

Country music legend Kenny Rogers enjoyed a decades-long career. Here’s what Rogers said about the day music “changed his life.”

Kenny Rogers said he was always surrounded by music

Kenny Rogers | Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Kenny Rogers | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Music was a significant part of Rogers’ life from the time he was a young boy. In his book, Luck or Something Like It, he says his family used to gather each year and play music together. One of his uncles even placed an organ on the family porch so he could play music during family gatherings. Rogers says he felt close to the family during these moments.

My uncles all brought their instruments to these family reunions. My dad brought his fiddle, one of his brothers had an organ—I think it was a B3 or the equivalent—that he pulled out on the porch to play, and my uncle Willie and uncle Judd both played guitar. This was a band.

All the kids would sit around and listen to the music and feel the closeness of the family. I would sit with my feet under the front of the house and play drums with my hands on the old wooden porch, as if I were part of the group. I doubt if I had any talent at that age, but one thing’s for sure—I had an instant love for music.

Kenny Rogers, Luck or Something Like It

Kenny Rogers felt a connection to gospel music

Rogers said he was around all kinds of music during his youth, but gospel music had a major impact on him. He was attracted to the strong voices and the melody. There was a church in his neighborhood where he could hear gospel music playing. He noticed how different the music was from the hymns played at his church.

“There was a little Black gospel church just down the street from Lanzo’s [grocery store],” wrote Rogers. “Sometimes I could hear music coming from that church, music that was far different from what I heard every week when my mom and the family took the bus downtown to First Baptist Church.”

The day music changed Kenny Rogers’ life

Rogers said he remembered the day music changed his life. He said that day had a significant impact on him musically. One day, when he was walking by the neighborhood church, Rogers overheard music from a service. Once he heard the gospel music coming from the church, he couldn’t resist getting a little closer to hear the music. He decided to get next to the church window and look inside. Here’s how he described that day.

The whole congregation was standing, clapping, singing, and some of them were dancing in praise of the Lord. Some of the hymns had the same words as ours, but there was so much warmth and honesty and rhythm in this sound.

Although I didn’t realize it at the time, listening that day to that gospel choir was a defining moment for me. I could hear the same songs played in different ways and appreciate both. I could see that everything about the music was in the approach taken. I have always loved all kinds of music and love hearing them played separately or merged together into a kind of fusion. I’m no purist. I just love the music.

Kenny Rogers, Luck or Something Like It

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