Forty-five years ago, on December 16, 1978, Kenny Rogers’ trademark song “The Gambler” hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs, giving the country star his third No. 1 of the year. “The Gambler” would spend three consecutive weeks in the top spot and become a mainstram crossover hit, climbing to No. 16 on the pop chart. In addition to becoming Kenny’s signature song, it would launch his already successful career into the stratosphere. “The Gambler,” written by Don Schlitz, would go on to win the Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance and spawn a TV movie on CBS with Kenny starring in the titular role as he added actor to his impressive resume. The film was a smash hit which led to Kenny Rogers becoming a household name and eventually four additional films, making it the longest running film series franchise on TV. Meanwhile, the album The Gambler, featuring the follow-up crossover smash “She Believes In Me” and standouts “I Wish That I Could Hurt That Way Again” and “Tennessee Bottle,” went to No. 1 on the country chart, won Album Of The Year at the Country Music Awards and went five times platinum in the U.S.
To commemorate “The Gambler” hitting No. 1 and the 45th anniversary of the legendary namesake record, The Gambler album has been mixed in immersive Dolby Atmos®from the original masters by GRAMMY® Award-winning engineer/producer David Leonard (Paul McCartney, Prince, Elton John, Stevie Nicks, John Mellencamp). The new Dolby Atmos mix retains the feel of the classic album but offers a fresh perspective, putting listeners in the center of the music while revealing details with unparalleled clarity and depth. Leonard previously handled the stunning Dolby Atmos mix of Kenny’s first posthumous album, Life Is Like A Song, released earlier this year. The Gambler is available to stream in Dolby Atmos on Apple Music, Amazon Music Unlimited and Tidalas of today, December 15.
Stream The Gambler In Dolby Atmos:
“We are so excited that Kenny’s iconic album The Gambler is now available in Dolby Atmos and fans can experience these songs like never before,” said Wanda Rogers. “This was one of Kenny’s absolutely favorite albums he ever made, and I know he would have been thrilled to be able to hear the music surround him just like it did when he recorded it in the studio with all the amazing musicians and the great Larry Butler producing.”
The Gambler in Dolby Atmos follows the release of Life Is Like A Song, Rogers’ first posthumous album, released in June via UMe. Curated and executive produced by the late Country Music Hall of Famer’s widow, Wanda Rogers, the 10-song heartfelt collection is filled with songs that were near and dear to the late legend but in most cases never released. The deeply personal songs culled from Kenny’s personal archives include eight never-before-heard recordings, spanning 2008-2011, and showcase his range through an array of original material and covers, including interpretations of Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight” and Lionel Richie’s “Goodbye,” as well as the artist’s long-sought-after duet with Dolly Parton, “Tell Me That You Love Me,” of which Robert K. Oermann of Music Row remarked, “The jaunty rhythm and buoyant mood burble along while these two superb harmony vocalists bounce their voices merrily against each other. A total smile.” The centerpiece of the album is the previously unreleased treasure, “Catchin’ Grasshoppers,” a deeply personal ode to Kenny’s twin sons with Wanda Rogers, Justin and Jordan. Watch the lyric video here:
Life Is Like A Song received rave reviews from the fans and press alike upon release and is included in Subjective Sounds’ Best of 2023 list, with the publication exclaiming, “While Life Is Like A Song undoubtedly stands as a testament to Kenny Rogers’ remarkable career, it also serves as an important reminder of his profound musical legacy. Kenny Rogers’ ability to tell stories through his songs and evoke genuine emotions is showcased at its finest on this album and if there is a greater gift to Rogers’ fans, following his death, I know of none.” The Second Disc hailed the album, writing, “The main attraction is hearing Kenny Rogers’ voice on new material, and Life Is Like A Song doesn’t disappoint on that front. You gotta know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em, and this is definitely not the time to fold ’em; one can only hope that the various periods of Rogers’ extraordinary career will continue to be plumbed for outtakes and rarities to appear on future releases. It’s not yet time to say ‘Goodbye’ to the one and only Kenny Rogers.”
A digital deluxe edition of Life Is Like A Song is also available and includes two bonus tracks: a cover of the Mack Gordon/Henry Warren standard, “At Last” (made famous by Etta James), and the Buddy Hyatt-penned original, “Say Hello to Heaven.” The release marked the first new non-Christmas studio album by Kenny in 10 years and the only non-compilation/non-reissued full-length album to be released on vinyl since 1991. Stream Life Is Like A Song or purchase on CD or vinyl here: https://kennyrogers.lnk.to/LifeIsLikeASongPR
“Kenny Rogers and Christmas music just seem to go together.” That’s what Billboard wrote in 2015. Something special was always created when Kenny performed a Christmas song—whether in the studio or live from a stage. Kenny brought his popular and heartwarming “Christmas & Hits” shows to stages all across America during the holidays for three and a half decades. This all started with Kenny’s self-produced 1981 album, Christmas. Featuring such fan favorites as “Christmas Everday,” “Kentucky Homemade Christmas” and “Kids,” alongside Kenny’s inspired performances of more traditional tunes like “White Christmas” and “O Holy Night,” it’s no wonder Christmas is widely considered a holiday classic. Enjoy listening here as you get ready for the holidays: https://KennyRogers.lnk.to/ChristmasAlbum
Jason Price founded the mighty Icon Vs. Icon more than a decade ago. Along the way, he’s assembled an amazing group of like-minded individuals to spread the word on some of the most unique people and projects on the pop culture landscape.