The Gambler (album)

The Gambler
Studio album by Kenny Rogers
Released November 1978 (1978-11)
Recorded 1978
Genre Country
Length 39:44
Label United Artists Group
Producer Larry Butler
Kenny Rogers chronology
Love or Something Like It
The Gambler
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic link

The Gambler is the sixth studio album by Kenny Rogers, released by United Artists in 1978. One of his most popular, it has established Rogers' status as one of the most successful artists of the 1970s and 1980s. The album reached many markets around the world, such as the Far East and Jamaica, with Rogers later commenting "When I go to Korea or Hong Kong people say 'Ah, the gambler!'" (as per the sleeve notes to the 1998 released box set "Through the Years" on Capitol Records). The album has sold over 35 million copies.[1][2]

The title track "The Gambler" was written by Don Schlitz, who was the first to record it. It was also covered by several other artists, but it was Kenny Rogers' adaptation of the tale that went on to top the country charts and win a Song of the Year Grammy, later becoming Rogers' signature song. Although Johnny Cash recorded the song first, Kenny Rogers's version was released first. Both this song and "She Believes in Me" became pop music hits, helping Rogers become well-known beyond country music circles. Although largely compiled from songs by some of the music business's top songwriters, such as Alex Harvey, Mickey Newbury and Steve Gibb, Rogers continued to show his own talent for songwriting with "Morgana Jones". The album was produced by Larry Butler.

Its popularity has led to many releases over the years. After United Artists was absorbed into EMI/Capitol in 1980, "The Gambler" was reissued on vinyl and cassette on the Liberty Records label. Several years later, Liberty issued an abridged version of the album, removing the track "Morgana Jones". EMI Manhattan Records released "The Gambler" on CD in the 1980s. An 'Original Master Recording' from Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs was released on vinyl (audiophile edition vinyl). Finally, "The Gambler" was released on Rogers' own Dreamcatcher Records in 2001 as part of the Kenny Rogers "Original Masters Series."

In Britain, both the title cut and the album did very well in the country market, but both failed to reach the top 40 of the pop charts. In the 1980s the single of "The Gambler" was re-issued and made the top 100 sales list, but again charted outside the top 40. It wasn't until the song was re-issued in 2007 that it charted at its #22 peak.

Additionally, "I Wish That I Could Hurt That Way Again" was later a single in 1986 for T. Graham Brown, whose version went to #3 on the country charts.

Track listing

Side one
1."The Gambler"  Don Schlitz3:34
2."I Wish That I Could Hurt That Way Again"  Rafe VanHoy, Don Cook, Curly Putman2:55
3."King of Oak Street"  Alex Harvey4:55
4."Makin' Music for Money"  Alex Harvey3:10
5."Hoodooin' of Miss Fannie Deberry"  Alex Harvey4:44
Side two
1."She Believes in Me"  Steve Gibb4:18
2."Tennessee Bottle"  Jim Ritchey3:59
3."Sleep Tight, Goodnight Man"  Sam Lorber, Jeff Silbar2:52
4."Little More Like Me (The Crucifixion)"  Sonny Throckmorton2:47
5."San Francisco Mabel Joy"  Mickey Newbury3:36
6."Morgana Jones"  Kenny Rogers3:03


Strings arranged by Bill Justis.

Chart performance

Chart (1978) Peak
U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums 1
U.S. Billboard 200 12
Canadian RPM Country Albums 1
Canadian RPM Top Albums 6
Preceded by
Willie and Family Live by Willie Nelson
Greatest Hits by Waylon Jennings
Top Country Albums number-one album
January 20 - May 26, 1979
June 9–30, 1979
Succeeded by
Greatest Hits by Waylon Jennings
Greatest Hits by Waylon Jennings
Preceded by
Stardust by Willie Nelson
Top Country Albums number-one album of the year
Succeeded by
Kenny by Kenny Rogers


  1. "The Year in Rock: 1978". Popdose. 2008-02-08. Retrieved 2012-01-10.
  2. Jonathan Hoenig (2006-02-13). "An Ace That You Can Keep". Retrieved 2012-01-10.
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