Kenny Rogers & The First Edition – Highlights
For those of us who just dropped in. The song “What condition my condition was in “pretty much sums up most of our high school years. But it also introduces us to the amazing talent of Kenny Rogers. Before he became the country balladeer and mega superstar. For others, it’s the song that resonates with the movie “The Big Lebowski.” which also made bowling more popular!
One of the great songs written by Mickey Newbury, which also makes him a huge success considering that he has three number one songs and one number five – across four different charts; Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) on the Pop/Rock chart by the First Edition, Sweet Memories Andy Williams, Time is a Thief on the R&B chart by Solomon Burke, and Here Comes the Rain Baby on the Country chart by Eddy Arnold. In 1968, that’s a pretty amazing thing!
The Line-up & Beyond
The group was Country/Rock group, stalwart members being Kenny Rogers, Mickey Jones, and Terry Williams. The band forms in 1967 with Mike Settle and Thelma Camacho completing the lineup. Within a year, the group is billed as “Kenny Rogers and the First Edition” and in the summer of 1969, they once again hit the charts with “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town.”
As the counterculture of the 1960s is developing, the band signs to Reprise records in 1967 and starts recording. One thing I liked about this band is that they play all styles of music, which at the time is great. Whether its country rock, pop, or psychedelic rock. Also, what makes this band successful is that most of the members knew each other from performing as The New Christy Minstrels with the exception of Mickey Jones.
In 1969, the band has more successful singles, but with all their different styles of music, they’re hard to pigeonhole into one specific genre. Creating issues with radio airplay. In the early 70s, with members leaving and being replaced. The band is not progressing towards the big time in the USA, although elsewhere their albums are selling well. In deciding how to handle their future the band shows signs of dissension. But they manage to keep things going until the end of 1975 when the band finally folds.
For Rogers, his solo career takes off as a country singer, Arnold marries and manages Roger Miller; Jones, Settle, Williams and Lorenzo work in the music industry, as performers or producers. While it’s sad that they didn’t go further than expected, luckily it looks like things did eventually work out. Below is “Something’s Burning” a single from their fifth album of the same name. It became a Top 20 song around the world.
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