Kenny’s farewell show on Laganside

The one and only Kenny Rogers
The one and only Kenny Rogers

Kenny Rogers is in Belfast next Tuesday night for what will probably be his last show on these shores.

The 78-year-old Texan is coming to the end of his final farewell world tour and the November 8 Odyssey Arena concert on Laganside promises to be a highly emotional event. There is always a warm audience-participation atmosphere at Kenny’s shows - he is a consumate performer always finely in tune with his huge fan base.

Kenny announced late last year that the world tour would be his final time performing around the globe and, ahead of the Belfast date, he covered virtually every state in the United States and also appeared in England, Scotland, Holland and Far eastern countries the Philippines, Taiwan, Singapore and Thailand. Kenny is big in that region.

Since the release of Kenny’s first-ever Christmas album back in 1981, titled Christmas, the celebrated singer has embarked on an annual ‘Christmas & Hits’ tour where he performs holiday favourites and a selection of hits at concerts across North America.

After the exhaustive world tour, Kenny will go ahead with a 35th annual seasonal tour in December, but he insists this year will definitely be his last.

“Christmas has always been a special time of year to me,” says Kenny. “The feeling I get performing on the Christmas tour is one of the things I’ll really miss about not being on the road. We will be sure to take extra time to cherish some moments on this last go-around, and I hope as many people as possible will be able to join us in creating a new set of holiday memories.” For his upcoming ‘Christmas & Hits’ tour dates, Rogers will perform selections from his 2015 Christmas album Once Again It’s Christmas. The tour includes 16 dates in major US cities.

Rogers, who has successfully straddled the country/pop musical genre, has sold more than 120 million albums worldwide. He achieved pop superstardom as well — his 28 Billboard Adult Contemporary Top 10’s rank him fourth-best-seller of all time, trailing only Elton John, Neil Diamond, and Elvis Presley.

Kenny has recorded 24 No 1 hits, 12 No 1 albums, and 25 Top 10 country albums. Elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame, he won three Grammy awards. His biggest hits have been Coward of the County, Lucille, She Believes in Me, Ruby Don’t Take Your Love To Town, and Islands in the Stream, a 1980s duet with Dolly Parton.

* CLAUDE PUTMAN, a prolific songwriter who enriched the American country songbook with classics such as He Stopped Loving Her Today; Green, Green Grass of Home; D-I-V-O-R-C-E, and My Elusive Dreams, died at the week-end, aged 85.

Putman, from Alabama, moved to Nashville in 1964 to work as a songwriter. The following year, he wrote Green, Green Grass of Home, which became a hit for Porter Wagoner, and was subsequently recorded by Tom Jones, Elvis Presley, Bobby Bare, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Charley Pride, Kenny Rogers and Joan Baez.

He also penned Dolly Parton’s first chart single Dumb Blonde in 1967 and was briefly a recording artiste himself, with three of his own songs in the charts — The Prison Song in 1960 and My Elusive Dreams and Set Me Free in 1967.

Written with Billy Sherrill, My Elusive Dreams became a No 1 hit that year for David Houston and Tammy Wynette. Other Putman standards include Tanya Tucker’s Blood Red and Goin’ Down; Moe Bandy’s It’s a Cheating Situation, and Hank Thompson’s The Older the Violin, the Sweeter the Music.