On Friday, country music singer Kenny Rogers passed away. Since then, many artists have spoken out about his passing including Garth Brooks who shared an emotional tribute to his “hero.”
It turns out that just when Garth was starting out in the country music business, Kenny was the first big act that he opened for. Garth joined Kenny on his 1989 Christmas tour through the northeastern part of the U.S. Because of this, Garth admits that he learned a lot from the country music legend and opened up about those lessons with Billboard.
Garth’s manager, Bob Doyle, urged him to take the offer to open up for Kenny Rogers, telling him he didn’t want to “miss” that opportunity. He admits that he is “thankful” his manager got him to go on the tour, revealing that Kenny became one of his heroes through working with him.
“The Ask Me How I Know” singer opened up about the fact that he learned a lot from Kenny who he said was “one of the most successful artists on the planet.”
He talked about what it was he learned from Kenny, recalling how he would use a corded microphone on stage. According to Garth, the corded microphone was actually hooked up to a wireless unit and that Kenny used the microphone as more of a prop.
“If he would forget a word, he would look at the cord and push it around like his mic went out. He’d put it out in the crowd. He used it like a musician would an instrument and so you watched him and you watched him closely.”
Garth explained that the only other country singer who taught him that much about entertaining was another legendary country singer, Reba McEntire.
It was Kenny’s honesty that Garth talked about, noting that Kenny was the same person on stage that he was off stage. Garth revealed that “The Gambler” singer wasn’t a “fake person.”
Garth ended his commentary by noting that Kenny was the “ultimate professional.”
“What he will be remembered for is the same way that I want to be remembered, if that’s even possible, because he was Springsteen. He was Neil Diamond. He was entertainment. I was lucky, lucky, lucky just to get to be a page in that book.”
In 2013, Kenny Rogers was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and it was Garth Brooks who had the honor of inducting him. There is no doubt that the singer was a legend, racking up 21 country hits that went to the top of the country charts during his career.
Garth Brooks isn’t the only artist to share a touching tribute to the country star. Dolly Parton posted a tear-filled tribute to her friend on social media admitting that the news had her heartbroken. Carrie Underwood also took to social media, sharing three throwback photos of herself with the legendary singer.
Kenny Rogers was 81 years old at the time of his passing. He is survived by his wife of over two decades and his five children.