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Kenny Rogers Celebrates 50 Years With TV Special

Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Last April I had the chance to attend an unforgettable night with a diverse list of singers and stars.  The event was the television taping to celebrate Kenny Rogers’ 50 Years in music at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods in Connecticut.  As someone who respects the career of this legend, it was an honor just to see Kenny in person.  Then, when you add in the special guests who lit up the stage song after song, I knew I was a part of a once in a lifetime event.

On the same stage, in one night, I saw the legendary Oak Ridge Boys, Wynonna Judd, Billy Dean, Linda Davis, Alison Krauss, and the incomparable Dolly Parton.  Then, the surprise of Chris Isaak, Smokey Robinson, and Lionel Richie singing their favorite Kenny classics.  It was fun to watch the chemistry between Dolly, Lionel, and Kenny on stage.  Their interaction is exactly like what you’d see with your own group of best friends.  They laughed, joked, and even had fun stumbling through a version of “Through The Years” together.  It didn’t matter if the performance was perfect, the moment was perfect!  Especially knowing that his children and wife were sitting in the front row to enjoy the occassion as a family.

Rick Diamond, Getty Images

In addition to satellite performances from Darius Rucker, Tim McGraw, and Billy Currington, one of the highlights was hearing Kenny sing “We’ve Got Tonight” with Sheena Easton.  Kenny has had an amazing catalog of hit duets, so to actually see him perform this 1983 classic with his original partner was a real treat.  To top it off, for the first time in my life, I finally got to see Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton perform “Islands In The Stream” together.  Two of my favorite legends performing one of my favorite songs of all time.  Actually, I may have been more excited than anyone else in the MGM Grand Theater at that point!  Of course, Kenny reuniting with the original members of the First Edition was also something you don’t see every day.  It was just one great collaboration and song after another!

Now, for those who couldn’t be there in person, you’ll have a chance to celebrate with Kenny and friends when the show premiers on Great American Country on Tuesday, March 8 at 8:30pm eastern.

Rick Diamond, Getty Images

I had the chance to visit with a man who had a big role in this event, Kirt Webster from Nashville’s leading Public Relations firm, Webster and Associates.  Kirt tells us that one of the highlights of the show happened prior to the taping, “The private rehearsal with Dolly, Lionel, and Kenny was amazing.  It was just real friends having a good time, with no agenda.  Laughter filled the room, sarcastic puns and jokes were flying around and it was just a nice time to be among friends.”

As I watched the concert, I could tell that these stars didn’t just come together to put on a show, they wanted to hang out with each other and have a great time.  Obviously with hectic touring schedules, this group of friends doesn’t have the chance to have weekly dinner parties, but this one night more than made up for lost time.  Kirt agrees that this was more than just a concert, ”Everyone on the special is ‘special’ to Kenny.  Whether they toured together, made hit records, or just became friends over the years.  This special is a culmination of all of those things and Kenny was just honored to have them all in one room together.”

Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Sometimes I think today’s Country Music fans overlook this man’s timeless talents in music and television.  With over 100 million records sold and a long list of Country and Pop hits, Kenny was easily the Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, or Kenny Chesney of the 1980s.  Kirt expands on the bearded legend’s accomplishments by saying that “Kenny Rogers is an Icon in the music business.  Very rarely do you find an artist who has radio hits in 4 decades of their careers, but with Kenny Rogers you get that.  His Humanitarian efforts from We Are The World to Hands Across America are undeniable and his music continues to live on from generation to generation.”

I hope you’ll tune in to GAC and enjoy this amazing cast of talent honoring the man that most of the world knows as “The Gambler.”  By the way, isn’t time that Kenny Rogers is inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame?

Rick Diamond, Getty Images

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