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Kenny Rogers Biography

Having spent over 100 weeks atop the charts, Kenny Rogers is one of the true icons in the world of music. His career began in the 1950s as a member of the doo-wop group The Scholars. More then a decade later in 1967, Kenny Rogers and three other members of the group The New Christy Minstrels, left the group to form The First Edition.  Success came quickly to them, chalking up a string of hit songs such as "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)." 
    
Despite the vision most people hold of Rogers today, he began his career with long brown hair, an earring, signature pink sunglasses, and a smooth vocal style that lent itself well to the times. But in 1971, Rogers’ hair grayed, he rapidly gained weight, and he developed the raspy voice that helped him better relate to a larger number of fans on both the pop and country charts with songs such as The Gambler and Lucille.

Like many stars of the time, Rogers also garnered success at the box office in films such as Six Pack. A man of many interests, Kenny opened a restaurant chain, Kenny Rogers Roasters, became a published photographer, and founded a real estate company. Rogers married five times and has 5 children which include twins born when Rogers was 65 years old.

In the 21st Century, discontent to rest on the laurels of a record-breaking career, Kenny climbed to #1 the country charts again with "Buy Me A Rose." Showing no sign of slowing down, with more then 25 #1 hits and more then 60 top 40 singles, Kenny Roger’s diverse and illustrious career is still going strong, much to the surprise and delight of his fans around the globe.
 
 

Bo Diddley Biography

 

Born Otha Ellas Bates, Bo Diddley is one of the true innovators that helped connect R & B with Rock n’ Roll. He had learned classical music playing the violin as a child, before changing gears after seeing John Lee Hooker perform. Diddley is best known as “The Originator” of a rhumba based beat that became one of Rock n’ Roll's most common rhythms, admittedly imitated by rock musicians such as Buddy Holly, The Rolling Stones, and U2. 

 

Rhythms were such a powerful force in his music, that on songs such as Hey Bo Diddley, he created excitement and tension through rhythmic structure as opposed to harmony, often repeating a single chord on his famous square bodied guitar throughout an entire song.

 

In 1955, Diddley was the first African American to perform on The Ed Sullivan Show, only to anger Sullivan by performing his song Bo Diddley rather then a song by Ernie Ford, as Sullivan had requested. Although Diddley was a break-through crossover artist among white audiences, his compositions rarely pandered to the teenage audience. His lyrics were often reinterpretations of folk songs and nursery rhymes, for instance the song Hey, Bo Diddley was an adaptation of the folk song Old McDonald.  Diddley was also influenced by his African heritage. Songs such as Say Man used the call and response style that was equally important in the creation of rap music.

 

With walls of accolades, an induction into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, and being one of Rolling Stone Magazine’s 50 Greatest Artists of All-Time, Bo Diddley is not content to sit back and relax. In 2005, he celebrated his 50th anniversary in music by touring Australia and Europe, and in 2006 he rededicated himself to raise money for Hurricane Katrina victims and reconstruction.  One of the truly influential and unconventional artists of his day, Bo Diddley’s legacy and influence remains a vital part of the Rock n’ Roll consciousness.
 
 
Jim Croce Biography
 
James Joseph Croce’s career in music was foreshadowed at age 5 when he learned to play Lady of Spain on his accordion. But the path to success was long and hard for Croce.  After performing with various bands at Villanova University, Croce moved to Philadelphia, hoping to break into the industry. He found a job at an R & B radio station transforming commercial messages into soul jingles. Increasing frustrated, Jim quit and worked as a summer camp guitar teacher and even enlisted in the military for a short period.
    
A Catholic at birth, Croce converted to Judaism when he married Ingrid Jacobson. The couple moved to NYC in an attempt to find success as musicians, even releasing an album called Jim and Ingrid. However, the closest the couple came was recording backing vocals for larger acts.
 
Discouraged by city life, the couple moved back to Pennsylvania upon the birth of their son, Adrian. Ingrid worked canning fruit and baking bread while Jim earned money as a construction worker and selling off his collection of guitars.
Despite his humble beginnings, when Croce’s first album, You Don’t Mess Around With Jim, was released in 1972 it was an instant success. Three singles, "Operator," "Time in a Bottle," and "You Don’t Mess Around With Jim" all climbed the Billboard charts. His second album, Life and Times, featuring the hit "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown," was equally successful.
 
Sadly, Jim Croce died in a plane crash after the pilot suffered a heart attack just days before the release of his highly anticipated third album, I Got A Name. Renowned for his friendliness and the sincerity of his performances, Jim Croce’s memory is implanted in the masses of fans that saw Croce not only as a pop star, but as the charming and understanding voice from next door.
 
 
Ronnie Hawkins Biography
 
One of Canada’s most legendary musicians, Arkansas native Ronnie Hawkins was born in 1935. After playing locally with A.C. Reed’s Black Hawks and a disappointing stint at Sam Phillip’s Sun Studio, Hawkins joined a new band with Jimmy Ray Paulman, Will 'Pop' Jones, Jimmy 'Lefty' Evans, and Levon Helm. This new ensemble became the first incarnation of vastly influential group, The Hawks.
 
Frustrated with the local scene, Ronnie and the Hawks moved north to Canada after hearing of the emergence of a burgeoning Rock ‘n Roll scene in Toronto. Hawkins’ fame grew quickly, and the Hawks were signed to a deal with Roulette Records. In the following years, the group flourished in Toronto’s Yonge Street scene, despite nearly constant turnover within the band. In 1963, Hawks drummer Levon Helm, eager to lead his own new band (known as “The Band”), left the group and took all of its current members with him, leaving The Hawks as a one man show.
 
Ronnie revamped The Hawks several times and released multiple singles.  These groups included a who’s who of future stars. One group, featuring John Till and Richard Bell, eventually left to form Janis Joplin’s 'Full Tilt Boogie Band'. Other former Hawks that went on to stardom included Burton Cummings, who formed The Guess Who, and David Clayton Thomas of Blood, Sweat & Tears.
 
Now hugely famous, in 1969 John Lennon and Yoko Ono stayed with Ronnie during their peace crusade, and later Ronnie was recruited by Lennon as peace emissaries and visited China. Besides the commercial success, recording with a who’s who of musicians, acting in films such as Heaven's Gate, hosting a television show called Honky Tonk, and winning a myriad of Awards, the greatest legacy bestowed to Hawkins is being the pioneer of Canada’s rich Rock ‘n Roll heritage.