Stapleton sang the tune as part of Rogers’ farewell concert in 2017. That year, Rogers decided he was giving up the stage and music to enjoy retirement and spending time with family. He gave the mic to younger performers like Stapleton, who were inspired by his music.
But Rogers couldn’t leave country music without one last bash. Stapleton was among a wealth of musicians and stars that turned out to celebrate Rogers’ career. For the concert, Stapleton got to sing Rogers’ most iconic tune. Over the years, “The Gambler” has become Rogers’ signature song and what he’s most known for. Rogers even made a line of TV movies based upon the persona.
Chris Stapleton Reflects on Kenny Rogers
“Kenny Rogers is obviously a huge influence,” Stapleton told Taste of Country. “John Prine is a unique voice and slant on songwriting that I don’t think is replaceable.”
Both musicians passed away last year, leaving a hole in country music. Stapleton reflected on the power of music and how Rogers’ legacy continues through his songs.
“I was speaking to somebody about this, and they were like, ‘Are you sad about all the wisdom that was lost?’ Well, you know, my dad’s no longer around,” Stapleton continued. “I lost wisdom there. But there’s no recordings of my dad talking about things and singing songs. My grandparents aren’t around, you know — lost wisdom there. There’s not recordings of that wisdom anywhere.”
Through his music, Rogers continues to inspire musicians like Stapleton to follow their dreams.
“But we as musicians, a little bit…they get to live on,” he said. “I think that’s the thing: While we miss them in body, their spirits get to hang out a little bit more than other people who weren’t musicians. And what a wonderful thing, or notion, that is, that they get to live on in that way.”