Kenneth Ray "Kenny" Rogers (born August 21, 1938, in Houston, Texas) is an American country music singer-songwriter, photographer, record producer, actor and entrepreneur. He has been very successful, charting more than 70 hit singles across various music genres and topping the country and pop album charts for more than 420 individual weeks in the United States alone.
Two of his albums, The Gambler and Kenny, are featured in the About.Com poll of "The 200 Most Influential Country Albums Ever". He was voted the "Favorite Singer of All-Time" in a 1986 joint poll by readers of both USA Today and People. He has received hundreds of awards for both his music and charity work. These include AMAs, Grammys, ACMs and CMAs, as well as a lifetime achievement award for a career spanning six decades in 2003.
Success in recent years include the 2006 album release, Water & Bridges, an across the board hit, that peaked at #5 in the Billboard Country Albums sales charts, also charting high in the Billboard 200. The first single from the album, "I Can't Unlove You," was also a chart hit. Remaining a popular entertainer around the world, the following year he completed a tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland telling BBC Radio 2 DJ Steve Wright, his favorite hit of his was "The Gambler".
In the 21st century, Rogers was back at #1 for the first time in almost a decade with the 2000 single "Buy Me a Rose", making him, at 61, the oldest artist in the history of country music to reach the chart summit. In doing so, he broke a 26-year-old record held by Hank Snow (who, in April 1974, was 59 years and 11 months old when he scored with "Hello Love"). Rogers held the record until 2003, when then 70-year-old Willie Nelson became the oldest artist to have a No. 1 on the country charts with his duet with Toby Keith, "Beer For My Horses."
Outside music, Rogers also had success as an actor. His 1982 movie Six Pack, in which he played a race-car driver, took more than $20 million at the US box office, while made-for-TV movies such as The Gambler, Christmas in America, and Coward of the County (based on hit songs of his) topped ratings lists. As an entrepreneur, he collaborated with former Kentucky Fried Chicken CEO John Y. Brown, Jr. in 1991 to start up the restaurant chain Kenny Rogers Roasters. The chicken and ribs chain, which is similar to Boston Market, was famously featured in an episode of the NBC sitcom Seinfeld called "The Chicken Roaster." [wikipedia]