“The Gambler” is one of late American country musician Kenny Rogers’ most famous tracks, released on his 1978 album of the same name. The track was written by country music songwriter Don Schlitz, and was recorded by several different artists before Rodgers chose to record it.
Schlitz wrote the track in August 1976 when he was 23 and spent two years in Nashville trying to find the perfect singer for the song. American country musician Bobby Bare recorded the track and placed it on his album “Bare” in 1978, due to Shel Silverstein urging Bare to. However, the song failed to chart and catch on and was never released as a single. Schlitz then recorded “The Gambler” himself, but his version only charted at #65. Infamous singer Johnny Cash recorded the song and placed in on his 1978 album “Gone Girl”; however, it was Kenny Rogers who made the track a success. “The Gambler” tells a tale of a late-night meeting on a train (that is bound for nowhere) between the narrator and the gambles, who offers advice in exchange for a sip of the narrator’s whisky and a cigarette. The end of the song insinuates that the gambler passes away.
The music video for “The Gambler” was released on the 23rd March 2018 on Kenny Rogers, and features Rogers singing to a camera, sat at a gambling table, playing with no one. The video ends with Rogers holding a shot of alcohol, signifying a “cheers” with the audience. As of late March 2020, the video has 50.2 million views and 272 thousand likes.
Sadly, on the 20th March 2020, Roger’s family passed away in a hospice in Sandy Springs, Georgia in the US. He was an icon not only to fellow musicians and songwriters alike, but the world.
Release Date: 15th November 1978
Songwriter: Don Schlitz
Producer: Larry Butler
Label: United Artists
Music Video Release Date: 23rd March 2018
Chart Rankings, Awards & Historical Significance: In its year of release, “The Gambler” reached #25 in Australian charts, #6, #2 and #8 in various Canadian charts; #29 in New Zealand, #12 in Spain, #22 in the UK, #1, #16 and #3 on various US Billboard charts and #13 on the US Cash Box Top 100 chart. In 1980, “The Gambler” won a Grammy award for “Best Male Country Vocal Performance”. In 2018, the track was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress, for being “culturally, historically, or artistically significant”.
The lyrics to “The Gambler” can be accessed here: LINK