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.