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Flashback To When Kenny Rogers' 'The Gambler' Soared To The Top Of The Charts

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Kenny rogers Songs | Flashback To When Kenny Rogers' 'The Gambler' Soared To The Top Of The Charts | Country Music Videos
Photo credit: DiscoBar80 YouTube Channel
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Decades after its release, Kenny Rogers' 1978 single, "The Gambler," is regarded as a country classic and is often named as one of Rogers' signature songs. 

"The Gambler" was written and originally recorded by Don Schlitz, with his version peaking at the 65th spot on the charts. Schlitz eventually turned the song over to Rogers, who placed it on his album of the same title.

Roger's version of the song eventually made its way up the charts to claim the number one spot on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart and broke into the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The lyrics of "The Gambler" tell the story of a gambler who gives his best advice to the narrator, with the gambler's "advice" being the most memorable part of the song:

"You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
You never count your money
When you're sittin' at the table
There'll be time enough for countin'
When the dealin's done"

At the end of the song, it's been speculated that the gambler actually dies when he falls asleep after he gives out his advice, with the narrator saying "the gambler he broke even/and in his final words/I found an ace that I could keep."

The song was also used as the theme music for Rogers' TV movie series of the same title, in which he played a professional poker player named Brady Hawkes.

In an interview with Rolling Stone in 2014, Rogers spoke about "The Gambler" and the impact it had on his career:

"That was a career-building song. Don Schlitz wrote it, and what's funny is that he's never been a gambler. In fact, the song's not about gambling; it's a metaphor for life and picking yourself up. He just happened to hear that line when he was walking down the street one day and it stuck with him. It was brilliant."

The music video for "The Gambler" is just as iconic as the song itself, as Rogers, dressed in Western-themed clothing, sings to the camera while sitting at a poker table.

You can watch Rogers' music video for his signature song, "The Gambler," below.

Even 37 years later, this song still has the power to get stuck in your head!

LYRICS BELOW

On a warm summer's eve
On a train bound for nowhere
I met up with the gambler
We were both too tired to sleep
So we took turns a-starin'
Out the window at the darkness
The boredom overtook us, he began to speak

He said, "Son, I've made a life
Out of readin' people's faces
Knowin' what the cards were
By the way they held their eyes
So if you don't mind me sayin'
I can see you're out of aces
For a taste of your whiskey
I'll give you some advice"

So I handed him my bottle
And he drank down my last swallow
Then he bummed a cigarette
And asked me for a light
And the night got deathly quiet
And his faced lost all expression
He said, "If you're gonna play the game, boy
You gotta learn to play it right

You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
You never count your money
When you're sittin' at the table
There'll be time enough for countin'
When the dealin's done

Every gambler knows
That the secret to survivin'
Is knowin' what to throw away
And knowin' what to keep
'Cause every hand's a winner
And every hand's a loser
And the best that you can hope for
Is to die in your sleep"

And when he finished speakin'
He turned back toward the window
Crushed out his cigarette
And faded off to sleep
And somewhere in the darkness
The gambler he broke even
And in his final words
I found an ace that I could keep

You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you're sittin' at the table
There'll be time enough for countin'
When the dealin's done

You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you're sittin' at the table
There'll be time enough for countin'
When the dealin's done

You've got to know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you're sittin' at the table
There'll be time enough for countin'
When the dealin's done

 

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