Everyone knows it takes both talent and luck to ascend the top tier of country music stardom. The “something like it” addressed in Kenny Rogers’ new autobiography includes adages, lessons, concepts, experiences and close friends encountered along the way. From a humble childhood upbringing in the projects of Houston,Tx., Rogers credits his mother for such values as optimism, respect, sharing and punctuality, as well as sage advice such as, “Find a job you love…and you’ll never work a day in your life.” His alcoholic father was good-natured with a sense of humor much like the one Kenny acquired. His dad once encouraged him to grow up having just five close friends to become a wealthy man. His managers, producer, and tennis instructor are among those acknowledged in the book. Perhaps a little more could’ve been written about Las Vegas businessman Steve Wynn who is mentioned as one of the five. Throughout the book, Rogers occasionally calls upon several friends or acquaintances for short stories in their own words.
Subtitled as a “memoir,” Rogers’ book offers many personal experiences, anecdotes, successes, failures and even a few secrets. While some of the stories are a little trite, most are both humorous and insightful. We quickly learn that Rogers does truly believe a key tenet that “entertainers–no matter how old they are–should never take themselves too seriously.” That kind of carefree, yet still businesslike, attitude comes across quite strongly in Luck or Something Like It. That competent and methodical outlook certainly helped Rogers succeed, and it also helps explain his close friendship with stars like Dolly Parton who once herself stated, “The magic is inside of you. There ain’t no crystal ball.” Kenny Rogers clearly has learned to sing, tell his stories, and live from a special place in his heart.
Rogers previously released an autobiography called Making It With Music back in 1993, and all the facts and figures surrounding his climb to celebrity are well documented. In Luck or Something Like It, he finds ways to modestly mention his hits and awards without coming off as egotistical. Most importantly, Rogers revisits the importance of treating music as a profession, with a serious attitude about viewing it as a business. If his acumen in that arena has been a clear strength, then so too has been his adaptability, teamwork, and skill as a communicator. Rogers was able to get his start on the road to success with doo-wop (The Scholars), jazz (Bobby Doyle Three; Kirby Stone Four), folk (New Christy Minstrels), country rock (The First Edition), and then ultimately find his niche as a soloist in pop-country. Being treated like a professional actually made him professional, and Rogers never forgot another adage learned from his grandfather about shifting winds–“Never assume today is like it was yesterday.” Admitting that it took him almost half a lifetime to locate his natural musical terrain, the driven and confident Rogers had perseverance and never gave up.
Autobiographies provide context. They’re records of events and situations from the personal perspective of an individual with intimate knowledge of the situations in their life. Rogers talks about his five marriages, his children, and even that one point in his life that he used a restricted phone number and “enjoyed talking with beautiful, alluring women on the phone.” Being accused of sexual harassment, he became the 1993 celebrity du jour for the tabloids. Along with over thirty color photographs, this book’s narrative is revealing and inspiring, understanding and uplifting.
At seventy-three years old, Kenny Rogers provides a thoughtful account of his life to this point in time, without being overly self-indulgent. Like many of his hit ballads, Luck or Something Like It exhibits a lot of soul. Rogers relates his life journey with shrewd perception and keen awareness, although none of the characters are quite as bad off as the man that Lucille tragically left in the song. Luck or Something Like It is an enjoyable read about his music career, family, friends, interests, and memories. It also emphasizes the well-rounded, mature nature of Kenny Rogers as musician, actor, author, photographer, athlete, businessman, philanthropist and matriarch. He’s clearly still a visionary artist in motion.Powered by Sidelines