Kenny Rogers Remembered by His Publicist of 15 Years (Guest Column)

Keith Hagan of SKH Music is a used track publicist who worked with Kenny Rogers for 15 years (the two are pictured above). Below, Hagan shares some memories of Rogers, who passed away Friday on the age of 81.
They boom you will need to below no conditions meet your heroes, but it indisputably sounds as if “they” below no conditions met Kenny Rogers. I had the chubby fortune and pleasure of working with the legendary singer as his publicist since 2005.
He offered extra albums and had extra radio hits than somebody might well realistically count. He modified into the first artist to bring country track to stadiums. He had success in movie, tv and even onstage along with his Christmas musical; he published books of his photography and an autobiography, among many, many completely different professional accomplishments — but even with all of his success, he modified into if truth be told one in every of the nicest human beings it is doubtless you’ll perchance well ever hope to know.

By the years (inquire of what I did there?), I witnessed heaps of celebrities who encountered him at tv tapings, award exhibits and completely different events — and stop ineffective of their tracks in scare and admiration.

When Stephen Colbert entered the on the advantage of the curtain room the set Kenny modified into waiting earlier than an interview about his 2012 autobiography, “Success or Something Treasure It,” he walked in with out asserting a word and merely started singing a deep album decrease from Kenny’s 1960s band, the First Version (I want I might well take into account which tune).
“Mr. Rogers, it is such an honor to meet you,” Colbert remarked, earlier than launching into memories of how usually his family listened to those early albums whereas he modified into rising up. Kenny modified into no longer most productive gracious and flattered that Colbert knew his work so smartly — he done singing the tune with him.

The Roots, led by walking musical encyclopedia Questlove, were chubby mad when Kenny agreed to salvage his first main hit, the psychedelic-technology tune “Real Dropped In (To Behold What Situation My Situation Used to be In),” which enjoyed a 2d life when it modified into featured in a dream sequence of the Coen Brothers’ 1998 movie “The Immense Lebowski.” Kenny, gamely joined in, even although, as he acknowledged with fun, “I haven’t sung that third verse in so prolonged I don’t even take into account the words!”
He had many, many indispensable person pals, namely Dolly Parton — I’ll below no conditions omit the sound of the two of them laughing collectively — and Lionel Richie, who he first met in 1979, and whose tune “Girl” grew to alter proper into a serious hit for Kenny the next year. They reunited for a recent version of the tune on Richie’s 2012 album “Tuskegee,” and when Kenny conducted a headlining set on the Bonnaroo festival that year, Lionel joined him for a shock appearance. Backstage, a Budge reporter asked me if he might well interview the two of them collectively. I informed him all he had to attain modified into sit there with the two of them laughing it up, and the legend would write itself.
Rogers: “I asked him to jot down me a tune, and he acknowledged he didn’t if truth be told attain that. So I informed him it would promote 5 million copies, and smartly, that modified his mind.”
Richie: [Laughs] “I acknowledged I’d be honest over. When I did prove up it modified into so recent because I had below no conditions pitched a tune earlier than.”
Rogers: “He comes to me and says he tried to attain this tune with the Commodores. He starts taking part in ‘Girl,’ and I informed him I couldn’t take into consideration they became that tune down!”
Richie: “All I if truth be told conducted were the first few notes, and he proper looks and tells me to full it and meet him within the studio in a week.”
Rogers: “So we’re within the studio and I’m doing the first verse and I’m searching to…”
Richie: “Oh, I knew he modified into going to bring this up!”
Rogers: “I’m asserting, ‘The set’s the 2d verse?’ Then someone tells me ‘Lionel’s within the loo writing it because he works superb below tension.’” [Laughter]
Richie: “Originate you hear what he’s asserting? Originate you hear what he’s asserting to the field? Neatly, it’s factual!” (Read the fleshy interview here.)

Currently I misplaced one in every of my closest pals ?So noteworthy laughter so many adventures to construct in mind, my heart is broken… My prayers jog out to Kenny’s Household.?
— Lionel Richie (@LionelRichie) March 21, 2020

That identical year, Kenny conducted at England’s huge Glastonbury Festival, in its “Legends” slot. Backstage, he became to me and acknowledged, “How’s it searching there?  Originate you take into consideration there’s going to be a crowd?”
There modified into a sea of humanity, as a long way because the sight might well inquire of, awaiting him to steal the stage.
He modified into an avid photographer and compiled a pair of of his photos proper into a 1987 e-book called “Your Company and Mine: A Sequence of 80 Images” that featured his footage of Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, Ray Charles, Miles Davis, and heaps of others, including then-President Ronald Reagan. He as soon as recalled to me the day he went to the White Rental to portray Reagan. As he modified into establishing, he became to the Secret Service brokers within the room and acknowledged, “Now, here’s the set I’d steal to shoot the president.”
The brokers swiftly reminded Kenny to be cautious along with his number of words.
But as recent as he grew to alter into, he modified into continually a rustic artist first: It if truth be told meant the field to him when the Country Music Hall of Fame lastly inducted him, as did the slightly a pair of awards he got from the CMAs, ACMs and CMT. He acknowledged usually, “Country track tells you the set you are even as you commence, takes you on a journey and leaves you off with an emotion on the stop.”
In 2011, a indispensable person-studded concert particular modified into released called “Kenny Rogers: The First 50 Years” (an A&E “Biography” documentary on him is premiering subsequent month). At some level of a short interview we did for the clicking materials to accompany it, he acknowledged, “When this modified into first proposed to me as a 50-year birthday celebration, one thing about that sounded supreme and I didn’t want that, so I instructed we name it ‘The First 50 Years,’” he recalled.
“I’ll portray you this,” he concluded. “The ‘First 50 Years’ TV prove is gonna be superior. But the subsequent 50 years TV prove is gonna be a bitch.”

It’s been an honor, sir…
Keith Hagan
SKH Music


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