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Kenny Rogers reflects on long shadow of his legacy

Posted: October 24, 2013 8:21 a.m.
Updated: October 24, 2013 8:21 a.m.
 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Kenny Rogers still records and performs — when the mood strikes him — but he's glad he no longer lives the life of a pop star.

"I wouldn't be out there today if you paid me," he joked.

Rogers long ago cemented his legacy in the world of popular music, and there will be another reminder of this when he's finally inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday with Bobby Bare and the late "Cowboy" Jack Clement. Many believe Rogers' induction is years late since few have done as much to spread country music beyond its once rural borders.

Rogers is remembered for "The Gambler" and other country hits like "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town," but the 75-year-old repeatedly strayed into pop music over the years. Now country is more pop — and popular — than ever, and Rogers had a lot to do with that.

"When I came in it was Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard, and then all of a sudden I did "Through the Years" and "She Believes in Me," started working with Lionel Richie and did "Lady" and started working with Barry Gibb and did "Islands in the Stream," and as successful as they were, they weren't what those people thought country music was. I think now they look around and say, 'Whoa, he was a lot more country than we thought.'"

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