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21 Number Ones
     

21 Number Ones

4.5 2
by Kenny Rogers
 
With a new studio album on the way, Kenny Rogers is primed for a resurgence in 2006, starting with this concise reminder of the wide swath he's cut through the country mainstream over the past 30 years. Staring with his first No. 1 single, 1976's lilting country-folk gem "Lucille," Rogers has made the top of the charts his home away from home to the tune of, as this

Overview

With a new studio album on the way, Kenny Rogers is primed for a resurgence in 2006, starting with this concise reminder of the wide swath he's cut through the country mainstream over the past 30 years. Staring with his first No. 1 single, 1976's lilting country-folk gem "Lucille," Rogers has made the top of the charts his home away from home to the tune of, as this album title indicates, 21 Number Ones. Never the prettiest of instruments, Rogers's sandpapery voice has been surrounded by smart, lilting arrangements that reference both country and pop, his ballads enhanced by lush string arrangements, his story songs with pedal steel cries, and throughout, background voices that betray some southern gospel influence. The formula has worked aces for Rogers, employed as it is in the service of finely crafted tunes with simple, unambiguous lyrics that either embrace a universal philosophical conceit ("The Gambler") or Hallmark-style platitudes of enduring love ("Through the Years"). Most of the tunes here were country chart-toppers, but this legacy also includes the massive Lionel Richie–penned and –produced love ballad "Lady," which reached the apex of the country, pop, and adult contemporary charts all at once, as well as three other songs (including the rousing duet with Dolly Parton, "Islands in the Stream") that were simultaneously No. 1's on the country and pop or AC charts, and another, "Share Your Love with Me," that was solely a No. 1 AC hit. In addition to the Parton single, Rogers's other duet smashes include "We've Got Tonight" with Sheena Easton, "Make No Mistake, She's Mine" with Ronnie Milsap, "Buy Me a Rose" with Alison Krauss and Billy Dean, and three with Dottie West. An awesome achievement, this, with the promise of more ahead.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Given Kenny Rogers' long and successful recording career, it would seem that a collection like 21 Number Ones would be a useful to way to collect all of his biggest and best hits. That's not necessarily the case. First of all, this 2006 compilation has nothing from the First Edition, with whom he had his earliest hits, including "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" and "Ruby Don't Take Your Love to Town." Then, because of the nature of number one singles -- once an artist has had one number one single, it's easier to rack up subsequent singles, particularly on a genre-specific chart like Country, which is where nearly all of these 21 tracks charted -- his more interesting music from the late '70s and early '80s is left behind in favor of the slick ballads of the second half of the '80s. These are songs that did hit number one on the charts, but they're a little samey and not is interesting as the singles he made on his way up the charts. That said, with the exception of the previously mentioned First Edition singles -- and some other good '70s sides like "Something's Burning," "Laura (What's He Got That I Ain't Got?)," and "Love Lifted Me" -- all the big hits are here in their original hit versions, including the bonus track of the Kim Carnes duet "Don't Fall in Love With a Dreamer," which may not have hit number one, but made the Top Five on the Pop, Country, and Adult Contemporary charts. While it's hard not to miss those First Edition songs, this is the best single-disc collection of Rogers' biggest songs -- it's half the length of 2004's 42 Ultimate Hits, after all, so many listeners may find this more manageable -- which makes it both a useful overview and introduction. Plus, it has terrific song-by-song liner notes by Kenny Rogers himself, offering such insights as: "Around the world, I am known as the Gambler. When I go to Korea or Japan, for example, people see me and go, 'Ah, the Gambler.' The song really is a wonderful piece of philosophy, not just about playing cards or gambling, but about life in general"; "Sheena Easton had some Streisand-like qualities, this wonderfully lyrical singer who sang with a little more everyday passion than Streisand"; and "Kim Carnes and I, we sound like we're hemorrhaging half the time when we're singing in full voice." For fans who already have this music elsewhere, these notes very well may make 21 Number Ones a worthwhile purchase.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/24/2006
Label:
Capitol
UPC:
0094634046923
catalogNumber:
40469
Rank:
6410

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Kenny Rogers   Primary Artist

Technical Credits

Kim Carnes   Composer
Jimmy Holiday   Composer
Dave Loggins   Composer
Lionel Richie   Composer
Robin Gibb   Composer
Billy Edd Wheeler   Composer
Barry Gibb   Composer,Audio Production
Steve Gibb   Composer
Bob Morrison   Composer
Roger Bowling   Composer
Larry Butler   Audio Production
Steve Dorff   Composer
Dave Ellingson   Composer
Maurice Gibb   Composer
Steve Glassmeyer   Composer
Randy Goodrum   Composer
Debbie Hupp   Composer
Kenny Rogers   Composer
David Malloy   Composer
Deadric Malone   Composer
Richard Marx   Composer
Marty Panzer   Composer
Bob Seger   Composer
Even Stevens   Composer
Thom Schuyler   Composer
Jeffrey M. Tweel   Composer
Eddie Reeves   Composer
Ben Peters   Composer
Kenny Roberts   Track Notes
John Dyes   Composer
Hal Bynum   Composer
Don Schlitz   Composer
Alfred Braggs   Composer
Jim Funk   Composer
Susan Lavoie   Art Direction
Erik Hickenlooper   Composer
Rick Christian   Composer

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21 Number Ones 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy and soothing to listen to while driving. Just love his music
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Collection has all the best of Kenny Rogers that I was looking for. Now introducing my kids to his music--they especially love his story songs like The Gambler and Coward of the County.