Kenny Rogers: How the Late Country Icon Helped Form The Eagles

by Keeli Parkey

It may seem hard to believe, but it has been one year since country music legend Kenny Rogers passed away. The singer known as “The Gambler” accomplished many things during his stellar career. There were the Grammy wins, the No. 1 hits, and the millions upon millions of albums sold.

But, did you also know that Kenny Rogers played an important role in the formation of one of the most popular bands of all time? That band, according to, was The Eagles. That’s right – Kenny Rogers helped bring The Eagles together.

Don Henley, the lead singer of The Eagles, talked about Rogers and the role he played in bringing the band together shortly after Rogers’ death in 2020 with “Billboard.”

“In addition to his tremendous talent, Kenny was a generous and caring man, a wise mentor to so many of us. He loved his friends, his family, his fellow musicians, and his fans, and they loved him, right back,” Henley said, according to

Kenny Rogers Shared Important Advice with The Eagles’ Don Henley

Don Henley went on to recount how Kenny Rogers worked with him and his fellow band members to help them be successful.

“Fifty years ago, The Gambler took a gamble on me and my first band from small-town Texas,” Henley reportedly said. “And his big-hearted support launched many careers, including mine. He also gave me some of the best career advice I ever got: ‘You’d better be nice to the people you meet on the way up because you’re going to meet those same people on the way back down.'”

That is some very good advice. And, Henley followed it.

According to the website, when Don Henley listened to what Kenny Rogers had to say he was singing for a band called “Shiloh.” The year was 1969. Rogers also helped Henley and Shiloh sign a record deal. And, The Gambler also served as a producer on the group’s debut album. In doing so, Henley went to Los Angeles.

Probably most importantly, it was while Don Henley was in Los Angeles working with Kenny Rogers on Shiloh’s album that he met people who would become very important in his life. Those people were the men who would join The Eagles, including Gleen Frey.

‘The Gambler’ Passed Away on March 20, 2020

March 20, 2020, was a sad day for country music fans. It was on that day that Kenny Rogers passed away. On the one-year anniversary of his passing his widow, Wanda, paid tribute to him on social media. The tribute included photos of her with Kenny and family.

Wanda also included the following caption with the photos: “A year ago.. our lives changed forever… but as KR always said..’you’re never gone until you’re forgotten’…we will always love you.”