“The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers

It actually pains me to have to say anything nice about a song made famous by the most disgustingly maudlin country singer in what was a very maudlin era for country. After all, this is the man who made “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town” a hit, and his entire career has a well-deserved reputation for melodramatic schlock. But Rogers neither wrote nor originated this song, so his association with it is based more on luck than anything else, and in the end, I really can’t deny this song’s status as a well-deserved country classic. The unforgettable chorus is iconic for a reason, and the lyrics in general are some of the best ever in a Country song. In fact, I’d guess that part of the reason that Kenny Rogers is marginally less hated than he deserves to be is that there’s a fair number of people who’ve never heard any of his songs except this one.

Verdict: Good

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