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Local History

Kenny Rogers

 One of the best known singers in both country and pop music, Kenny Rogers performed a concert in Hammons Student Center on July 19, 1981.  The early 1980s was also an active time for Rogers’ acting career.  The previous year he starred in his best known role, that of Brady Hawkes in the TV movie, “Kenny Rogers as The Gambler.”  Just three months after his Springfield concert, Rogers played a preacher in another TV movie, “Coward of the County.”  He appeared on the big screen in 1982 as Brewster Baker, a race car driver on the comeback trail, in “Six Pack.” Rogers’ style pleases crowd at Hammons

Springfield (Mo.) Daily News, July 20, 1981, 1 B

“To Lajunta Dudley, 70 minutes of Kenny Rogers in concert was worth the drive from Baxter Springs, Kan. ‘One song would have been worth the trip.  It seemed like he cut it a little short and I thought he looked real tired, but I don’t care,’ she said immediately after Rogers’ performance in Hammons Student Center Sunday night.

“’He’s real sexy and I like his style.  He’s real good looking and he’s so calm.  He doesn’t show off,’ she said a few minutes after Rogers had been whisked away in a gray limousine from the concrete heart of the arena.  Rogers’ romantic, cuddly bear style also appealed to Jackie Dresser, who drove in from Hollister to see the concert with her daughters.  ‘He has songs that tell a story and romantic songs too.  His songs just seem to fit at some time in your life,’ said Ms. Dresser.  ‘I also thought the sound equipment was great,’ she said.
“Along with an elaborate sound system, film projected on four screens was a part of the show.  While Rogers sang ‘Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Group Up to Be Cowboys,’ pictures of little boys playing cowboys were projected on screens which hung from the huge light banks suspended from the ceiling.  When he sang ‘The Gambler,’ larger than life segments from the fight scenes of his recent television movie were shown.  ‘That was really hard to believe!  Seeing him on film and hearing him sing at the same time!  He was really there!’ said Ms. Dresser.

“With his seven member band, Bloodline, in the center of the stage, Rogers strolled around the four sides and quickly established a warm rapport with the 7,500 people who paid from $10 to $15 to see him.  He passed out tambourines early in the show and in his first and only encore he tossed Frisbees high into the less expensive seats.

“Rogers sang most of the songs that have made him one of the most successful performers in the music business, including ‘Lucille,’ ‘The Gambler,’ ‘Ruby,’ ‘Lady,’ ‘Rueben James,’ ‘Love The World Away,’ and ‘She Believes In Me.’  A Houston, Texas native, Rogers has been performing for more than 20 years.  He has worked in the Bobby Doyle Trio, The New Christy Minstrels, The First Edition, and in duets with various female singers.”

In addition to numerous CD’s of his music, the Library has a copy of Kenny Rogers’ new autobiography Luck Or Something Like It.

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