Kenny Rogers' heyday was in the late 1970s and '80s, and what a heyday.
You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille,/ With four hungry children and a crop in the field ...
Rogers already had been a working musician for nearly two decades in groups such as the New Christy Minstrels and Kenny Rogers and the First Edition before 1977's Lucille hit No. 1 on the country and pop charts.
You've got to know when to hold 'em,/ Know when to fold 'em
A year later, Rogers delivered his icon, The Gambler, a 31/2-minute piece of Western noir. With his gravelly tenor, it was an ideal marriage of song and singer.
His star was established, and he spent many years bringing others into its glow.
Lady, I'm your knight in shining armor,/ And I love you
His producer collaborations included Lionel Richie, who wrote and produced his 1980 hit Lady. And then there were his duets with pop stars Kim Carnes (Don't Fall in Love With a Dreamer) and Sheena Easton (We've Got Tonight) and country favorites Dottie West (numerous hits) and Dolly Parton.
Islands in the stream,/ That is what we are
It has been quite some time since Rogers, 72, has sent a song to the top of the pop charts. But it shouldn't be hard to fill the Opera House with people who know his songs by heart.