Country Music Hall of Fame


Kenny Rogers: Through the Years

August 15, 2014 - June 14, 2015

Supported by Suntrust. 
With driving artistic instinct, a trademark husky voice made for storytelling, polished showmanship and effortless charisma, Kenny Rogers conquered radio, television and film en route to becoming a beloved American icon.

Incorporating awards, costumes, sheet music, memorabilia, and more from Rogers’s personal vault as well as from the collections of frequent collaborators, Kenny Rogers: Through the Years provides a comprehensive tour through Rogers’s acclaimed musical phases and other artistic outlets.

The exhibit features dozens of artifacts including:

  • Costume pieces worn and used by Rogers in the five-part Gambler TV movie series, including a fedora and gun belt, a Western-cut jacket, shirt and brocade vest, and a cane with a brass knob
  • A Tony Alamo of Nashville denim outfit, embellished with rhinestones and studs, worn by Rogers as the frontman for Kenny Rogers and The First Edition in the 1970s
  • Dolly Parton’s rhinestone-embellished velvet jacket and dress, which she wore during a performance of “Islands in the Stream” with Rogers on her TV show, Dolly
  • Dottie West’s Bob Mackie outfit with bugle beading and Dolcis pumps, worn in performance with Rogers
  • A 1970 program from a week of shows featuring both Kenny Rogers and the First Edition and Merle Haggard and the Strangers at the Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri
  • Sheet music for the Mickey Newbury-penned “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In),” which became the First Edition’s first top 10 hit, and “Ruby (Don’t Take Your Love to Town),” a crossover hit for Kenny Rogers and the First Edition written by Mel Tillis
  • A handmade tambourine with Kenny Rogers’s logo burned into the wood, similar to the ones he throws into the crowd at his concerts
  • Assorted cameras used by Rogers, including two Polaroid models; a Calument Scientific Inc. 8" x 10" folding camera; and a Linhof Master Technika Classic camera, used by Rogers to capture the fifty-eight studio portraits of country artists in his third book of photos, Kenny Rogers: This Is My Country
  • A paperback novel, part of a series of books inspired by Rogers’s iconic portrayal of the “Gambler” in the popular TV movies
  • Numerous awards, including the CMA Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award; Grammy statuettes; the Academy of Country Music’s Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award; and the Honorary Master of Photography award presented to Rogers by the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) at its annual conference; and more.
  • Items that reflect Rogers’s longtime status as a pop culture icon, including Die-cast metal replica of the Camaro race car driven by Kenny Rogers in the film Six Pack, a collectible pack of cigarettes featuring Rogers’s name and likeness; and more
  • Original LP, 45-RPM picture sleeve and tape boxes for releases by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition and Kenny Rogers as a solo artist

Exhibit Supported by: 


Kenny Rogers as the Gambler, in the First Edition, and Kenny Rogers the photographer. 

Watch an interview with Kenny Rogers from the opening weekend of the exhibit Kenny Rogers: Through The Years.

Watch a panel discussion with Kenny Rogers and the First Edition from January 17, 2015.

Watch a Performance and Conversation with Kenny Rogers' songwriter, producer and singing partner Kim Carnes.

Watch Kenny Rogers sing "The Gambler."

Watch Kenny Rogers sing "Lucille."

Watch Kenny Rogers sing "She Believes In Me."