GRAMMY Award-winning country superstar Kenny Rogers may have died in 2020, but his long-lasting legacy lives on within his timeless music. Tonight, during a 2-hour concert special, Reba McEntire honored the late singer with a tribute performance.
During a star-studded, pre-taped concert event on Thursday (Sept. 23) dubbed Kenny Rogers: All In For The Gambler, McEntire, wearing a mustard yellow Rogers t-shirt, performed what she dubbed “one of my favorite Kenny Rogers songs.”
Her lively performance of Kenny Rogers & The First Edition’s “Reuben James” got the crowd up, moving and singing along.
“I just loved Kenny. Kenny was a super person. I toured Australia with him.,” McEntire recalled of her late friend. “That was my first trip and then went back on my own. But Kenny was funny, told the best stories, the best jokes, and I just loved being in his presence. So, when they asked if we would do the tribute, I said, absolutely to a good friend.”
Watch McEntire’s performance below.
🎶 I loved you then and I love you now, Reuben James…🎶
Don't miss @reba and many more incredible artists unite to honor country legend @_KennyRogers TOMORROW on Kenny Rogers: All In For The Gambler at 9/8c on CBS! #KennyRogersCBS pic.twitter.com/NTQlrZzUxn
— CBS (@CBS) September 22, 2021
Kenny Rogers: All In For The Gambler also featured tribute performances from Chris Stapleton, Idina Menzel, Lady A, Lionel Richie, and Little Big Town, who took the stage to perform some of Rogers’ greatest hits, such as “The Gambler,” “Lady,” “She Believes in Me,” “Through the Years,” “Lucille,” “We’ve Got Tonight” and more.
Rogers’ longtime friend and duet partner, Dolly Parton, also appeared during the star-studded concert event to share some touching memories that she shared with the country icon before performing a series of songs in an emotional finale featuring Rogers himself.
Produced by Blackbird Presents, the two-hour, concert special was filmed in 2017 in honor of his retirement and honored the life and legacy of the late country music legend, who passed away in 2020. Rogers was 81 at the time of his death.
“Kenny Rogers’ enormous impact on country music was matched only by the love all the artists and fans showed Kenny on this incredible night,” said executive producers Keith Wortman and Ken Levitan. “We are so thrilled to share this special with his friends, family and fans all around the world, as he will remain forever in our hearts.”
Kenny Rogers: All In For The Gambler aired on Thursday, Sept. 23 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on CBS and was streamed live and on demand on Paramount+.