5 Surprising Facts About Kenny Rogers

Early on in his career, Kenneth Rogers was advised by television talk show host Larry Kane that he should go by “Kenny.” Kenneth was uneasy about the idea … until Larry introduced him by his new moniker and the girls went wild. “I thought, ‘I could live with that,'” Rogers told Rolling Stone in 2014.

On March 20, 2020, the entertainment world lost one of its true legends when Kenny Rogers passed away from natural causes at the age of 81. Over the course of six decades, Rogers showed off his talent on the stage and beyond: in addition to being a singer, Rogers was an actor and (as any Seinfeld fan knows) a fast food restaurateur. While there’s a lot you probably do know about the Houston native, we’ll gamble you don’t know everything.

1. Kenny Rogers was a jazz bassist and a hippie rocker.

Long before he recorded the country hits he’s known for, including “Lucille” and “Lady,” Kenny Rogers cut his musical teeth playing stand-up bass in a jazz group, The Bobby Doyle Trio, in the early 1960s. After they disbanded in 1965, Rogers grew out his hair, pierced his ear, and sported a pair of pink sunglasses as the frontman for the rock ‘n’ roll group The First Edition (which later became known as Kenny Rogers and The First Edition).

The First Edition’s psychedelic pop song, “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In),” became a hit in 1968. Fans of the Coen brothers’s The Big Lebowski (1998) may recognize the tune from The Dude’s bowling dream sequence. Yes that’s Hippie Kenny on vocals!

2. Kenny Rogers and Don Henley used to be roommates.

In 1970, Rogers discovered Don Henley’s pre-Eagles band, Shiloh, and produced their self-titled debut record. “It’s not like he was in the mud somewhere and I walked up,” Rogers explained of how he “discovered” the band. “But I found his group and took them to L.A. and they lived with me for six months.” Shortly thereafter, Henley “got a chance to go with the Eagles and he said, ‘I can't do it unless you give me my publishing back.’ I was just trying to help him so I said, ‘Sure, I'll give it back to you.’ I'm very proud of that. Producing is something that I used to be really good at but never great.”

3. Kenny Rogers was a pro-level tennis player.

“I played tennis for 10 years, eight hours a day every day and developed a national ranking while I was on the road playing with Wimbledon champs,” Rogers told Rolling Stone. In 2013, he told BBC Radio 5 that tennis was a near-obsession with him—so much so that he had a couple of tennis pros travel with him on the road. "We just flew from city to city and we'd get into town and we'd play the pro and the assistant pro at one of the clubs. And I developed a very good doubles game," Rogers explained. "I heard at one time, I thought I saw it, that I was ranked one notch above Björn Borg in the doubles." But, Rogers added with a laugh, Borg "only played one doubles match, so..." Though the stats on Rogers' matches are limited, he did indeed have an ATP listing

4. Kenny Rogers dabbled in interior design.

In 2003, Rogers formed Kenji Design Studio, an Atlanta-based interior design firm, with business partner Jim Weinberg. The company went on to score some major contracts, like its bid to design all of the graphics, common spaces, model units, and employee uniforms at the Trump Towers Atlanta.

For his part, Rogers admitted that his design skills were really self-taught: “I’ve done 20 houses of my own, so I come to this from a totally emotional standpoint,” Rogers told the Chicago Tribune in 2007. “Jim does all the work. He brings me in as a second set of eyes. We're yin and yang … I tend to think very outside the box. Jim pulls me back.”

5. Kenny Rogers was a big fan of MenWhoLookLikeKennyRogers.com.

Rogers loved MenWhoLookLikeKennyRogers.com, the quirky (though now defunct) Kenny Rogers tribute site that was voted one of the top 100 websites of all time by Yahoo! Its purpose? To provide its users with, among other things, a “How to Look Like Kenny” guide, tips for spotting Kenny lookalikes, and a Kenny Hall of Fame.

“I think that’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen,” Rogers told CMT News of the site in 2004, before sharing that he actually “tried to get a hold of some of the original pictures so I could use them on stage.” Before launching the site, its creator asked for Rogers’s blessing: “I said, ‘As long as you do it in good taste and don’t go down a road that I think is not really what I’m about, then I don’t care how much you make fun of me. That doesn’t bother me. But don’t get into bad taste, because then I’d have to talk to you about it.’ They seem to have really stayed pure.”

Take Advantage of Amazon's Early Black Friday Deals on Tech, Kitchen Appliances, and More

Amazon
Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Even though Black Friday is still a few days away, Amazon is offering early deals on kitchen appliances, tech, video games, and plenty more. We will keep updating this page as sales come in, but for now, here are the best Amazon Black Friday sales to check out.

Kitchen

Instant Pot/Amazon

- Instant Pot Duo Plus 9-in-115 Quart Electric Pressure Cooker; $90 (save $40) 

- Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Sauteuse 3.5 Quarts; $180 (save $120)

- KitchenAid KSMSFTA Sifter with Scale Attachment; $95 (save $75) 

- Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker; $60 (save $20)

- Cuisinart Bread Maker; $88 (save $97)

- Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker; $139 (save $60)

- Aicook Juicer Machine; $35 (save $15)

- JoyJolt Double Wall Insulated Espresso Mugs - Set of Two; $14 (save $10) 

- Longzon Silicone Stretch Lids - Set of 14; $13 (save $14)

HadinEEon Milk Frother; $37 (save $33)

Home Appliances

Roomba/Amazon

- iRobot Roomba 675 Robot Vacuum with Wi-Fi Connectivity; $179 (save $101)

- Fairywill Electric Toothbrush with Four Brush Heads; $19 (save $9)

- ASAKUKI 500ml Premium Essential Oil Diffuser; $22 (save $4)

- Facebook Portal Smart Video Calling 10 inch Touch Screen Display with Alexa; $129 (save $50)

- Bissell air320 Smart Air Purifier with HEPA and Carbon Filters; $280 (save $50)

Oscillating Quiet Cooling Fan Tower; $59 (save $31) 

TaoTronics PTC 1500W Fast Quiet Heating Ceramic Tower; $55 (save $10)

Vitamix 068051 FoodCycler 2 Liter Capacity; $300 (save $100)

AmazonBasics 8-Sheet Home Office Shredder; $33 (save $7)

Ring Video Doorbell; $70 (save $30) 

Video games

Sony

- Marvel's Spider-Man: Game of The Year Edition for PlayStation 4; $20 (save $20)

- Marvel's Avengers; $27 (save $33)

- Minecraft Dungeons Hero Edition for Nintendo Switch; $20 (save $10)

- The Last of Us Part II for PlayStation 4; $30 (save $30)

- LEGO Harry Potter: Collection; $15 (save $15)

- Ghost of Tsushima; $40 (save $20)

BioShock: The Collection; $20 (save $30)

The Sims 4; $20 (save $20)

God of War for PlayStation 4; $10 (save $10)

Days Gone for PlayStation 4; $20 (save $6)

Luigi's Mansion 3 for Nintendo Switch; $40 (save $20)

Computers and tablets

Microsoft/Amazon

- Apple MacBook Air 13 inches with 256 GB; $899 (save $100)

- New Apple MacBook Pro 16 inches with 512 GB; $2149 (save $250) 

- Samsung Chromebook 4 Chrome OS 11.6 inches with 32 GB; $210 (save $20) 

- Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 with 13.5 inch Touch-Screen; $1200 (save $400)

- Lenovo ThinkPad T490 Laptop; $889 (save $111)

- Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet (64GB); $120 (save $70)

- Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition Tablet (32 GB); $130 (save $70)

- Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8 inches with 32 GB; $100 (save $50)

Apple iPad Mini (64 GB); $379 (save $20)

- Apple iMac 27 inches with 256 GB; $1649 (save $150)

- Vankyo MatrixPad S2 Tablet; $120 (save $10)

Tech, gadgets, and TVs

Apple/Amazon

- Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS; $179 (save $20) 

- SAMSUNG 75-inch Class Crystal 4K Smart TV; $998 (save $200)

- Apple AirPods Pro; $169 (save $50)

- Nixplay 2K Smart Digital Picture Frame 9.7 Inch Silver; $238 (save $92)

- All-New Amazon Echo Dot with Clock and Alexa (4th Gen); $39 (save $21)

- MACTREM LED Ring Light 6" with Tripod Stand; $16 (save $3)

- Anker Soundcore Upgraded Bluetooth Speaker; $22 (save $8)

- Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote; $28 (save $12)

Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless Camera with EF-M 15-45mm Lens; $549 (save $100)

DR. J Professional HI-04 Mini Projector; $93 (save $37)

Sign Up Today: Get exclusive deals, product news, reviews, and more with the Mental Floss Smart Shopping newsletter!

Netflix Viewers Are Petitioning the Streaming Giant to Stop Cutting Off the End Credits

"Wait! There might be a post-credits scene."
"Wait! There might be a post-credits scene."
JESHOOTS.com, Pexels

To help us decide what to watch next as easily as possible, Netflix always serves up a few suggestions immediately after we’ve finished a program. For many viewers, it’s a little too immediate: The credits shrink to a small window, and Netflix’s recommendations take center stage.

Composer Daniel Pemberton, whose most recent scores include Netflix original films Enola Holmes (2020) and The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020), likened it to a rushed meal at a restaurant. “The second that final spoonful goes in your mouth the waiter runs over, noisily clears the plates away and shoves a new menu under your nose, while insisting that you order the set menu immediately,” he wrote for The Guardian.

While people do often walk away or switch to another program as soon as the credits roll, plenty of others consider them an important part of the viewing experience. The music alone justifies sitting tight for a little while longer, and the credits provide the perfect opportunity to contemplate whatever you’ve just seen. They also pay homage to the hundreds of people who brought the project to life. And, as the Marvel Cinematic Universe always reminds us, not all movies actually end when the credits start to roll.

Netflix doesn’t outright prevent viewers from watching the credits. If you click on the minimized box, the credits will spring back to full screen and remain there until the very end. But if you take too long fumbling for the remote, you might miss your chance—Netflix’s autoplay feature often begins the next preview in mere seconds, in which case you’d have to go back to your home screen and restart the previous program to see the credits.

A video producer named Mark Boszko got so fed up with the arrangement that he launched a petition on Change.org. He’s not asking Netflix to get rid of its end-of-program advertisements across the board; rather, he just wants the platform to let viewers choose to have the full credits play as their default setting.

Boszko’s petition is evidence that he’s far from the only person who cares about the cause. So far, more than 10,500 people have signed it—you can do so here.

[h/t The Guardian]