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The Story Behind Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler”

UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 01: WEMBLEY EMPIRE POOL Photo of Kenny ROGERS, Kenny Rogers performing on stage (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)

Famously known, Kenneth Rogers was an American actor, song writer, and producer. He is known as one of the best musicians of all times as he sold over 100 million copies of his records, and those are the numbers of sales in the United States alone. Rogers was predominately a country singer not to be trifled with having won three Grammy Awards for his most popular work over the years.  Given his recent passage this year, the music world will truly miss this icon.

One of Kenny Rogers’ most famous works as an artist was his song “The Gambler”, although this piece of work was written by Don Schlitz, it is still recognized as being one of the most popular singles Kenny performed. There is a lot of background story to this song, it was Schlitz’s masterpieces, as after writing this song he was able to quit his office job in order to become a full-time songwriter.

The Story Behind Kenny Rogers'

A Worldwide Hit

When Kenny Rogers recorded this song, it was registered worldwide as the #1 song on the country music charts almost immediately. The song became so famous that it was used in numerous places from shows like The Muppet Show, TV series, and even on slot machines in different casinos around the world. The song wasn’t just a success, it was a great influence to the country genres and also to the gambling world. “The Gambler” became a classic because of its storyline and of the way that Kenny Rogers recorded it for the world.

The Popularity Of The Song

Not only was the song a hit, it became such a popular tune that even studios like Warner Bros started using it on television and recording numerous versions of it in order to broadcast it across the globe. Kenny Rogers became such an icon, that the lyrics of “The Gambler” are now played everywhere around the world, after all this song turned into an all-time classic.  Of note is the songs us in land-based casinos, typically a favorite backdrop to the general and private rooms across a wide variety of venues.  Then of, course, you can also check out and see how the song is being used as part of the narrative of the online gaming experience.  Ask any player… there’s something about the song itself that relieves tension and add a spirit of comradery among all players and spectators regardless of the stakes.

The Story Behind Kenny Rogers'

The Meaning Behind The Lyrics

“The Gambler” song is about strangers on a train that carries out a conversation about poker. Although Schlitz wasn’t involved in gambling, he related the lyrics to the song to the advice he had received from his father before he passed away. In a certain way, the meaning of the song is more about life than it is about gambling.  With the uncertainty we have all experienced this year, knowing when to hold on to certain things and when to let go is about as powerful as any life lesson one could teach.  It is about control and the lack thereof that we all wrestle with in life.

Overall The Gambler became widely known thanks to its real-world relatability.  There are infinite possibilities around each corner, no matter how we play the game. To this day, The Gambler continues to speak to audiences and fans around the world.  While we may no longer have the musical blessing of Kenny Rogers, his legacy lives on.