Country music fans are waking up to incredibly sad news this morning.  Kenny Rogers, who gave us some of the biggest country and pop hits of the 70s and 80s, has passed away.  According to this family, he died at the age of 81, under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family.

Not only did the man give us the delicious Kenny Rogers Roasters restaurant chain (there are still some locations open!!), which we were fortunate to have here in Owensboro for a while, he, more importantly, gave us a music legacy that included 24 number hits.

Here are five of my personal favorites.  For me, these are the five essential Kenny Rogers hits.

#5- LADY (established Kenny as country music's true crooner)

#4- THE GAMBLER (a song I quote to this day because I suck at gambling)

And I personally think Kenny's most impactful moments in music were his duets.  These three songs were some of my favorite songs of the 80s.  I was, most definitely, a child of the 80s and Kenny Rogers was a huge part of my musical childhood.  I absolutely love these three songs and their positions on this list are really interchangeable.  They are sensational.

#3- WE'VE GOT TONIGHT w/ Sheena Easton

#ISLANDS IN THE STREAM w/ Dolly Parton

#1- DON'T FALL IN LOVE WITH A DREAMER w/ Kim Carnes (my all-time fave)

And, of course, I have to add that Kenny played a key role in two social movement songs of the 80s.  He, of course, sang in the original "We Are the World" recording and he helped launch the "Hands Across America" campaign.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: WE ARE THE WORLD

HANDS ACROSS AMERICA

Kenny Rogers enjoyed a six-decade career.  He, most definitely, will be missed.  Just watching these videos and performances again, he already is.