Personnel: Kenny Rogers; Dolly Parton, Dottie West, Kim Carnes, Alison Krauss, Ronnie Milsap, Sheena Easton, Billy Dean.
Photographer: Kelly Junkermann.
Kenny Rogers sure can write 'em, and even those who dismiss the country-pop star's catchy, well-written commercial fare will know half the words to the tunes on 21 NUMBER ONES. This EMI compilation is not the most comprehensive Rogers collection on the market, nor is it necessarily representative of his best work as an artist, but a listen through these 21 tracks will make one thing clear: Rogers's songs are an indelible part of the fabric of American pop culture.
Kicking off the with "The Gambler" (still one of Rogers's most infectious and enjoyable tunes), 21 NUMBER ONES hits all the usual suspects, from the Lionel Richie-penned "Lady," to the twangy feel-good parable "Coward of the County," to the epically romantic "She Believes in Me" to "Lucille," Rogers's breakthrough crossover hit from 1976. There are also plenty of the duets Rogers is famous for, including ones with Sheena Easton, Dolly Parton, Dottie West, and Kim Carnes. Longtime fans will most likely have all of this material, but as a primer on the superstar's biggest hits, it's hard to find a better collection.