Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler” Earns Big National Honor

kenny rogers the gambler

photo: Kenny Rogers Facebook

The Library of Congress has added 25 new tracks to the National Recording Registry. Country music star Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler" made the list!

When Kenny Rogers heard “The Gambler” was added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry, he expressed great humility and thankfulness. “The song was not written about gambling, it was written with a very personal look at life,” Kenny explained via the institution. “To say I’m proud is an understatement. It speaks very highly for Don Schlitz’s writing ability. I am very impressed and appreciative of this great award.”

Of course Schlitz was honored to have the Texas legend sing the song he wrote. “I actually wrote [the song] in my head,” Schlitz added. “To have anyone listen to any of your songs and appreciate any of them is miraculous, is great. To have Kenny Rogers sing one of your songs is way over the moon.”

Watch the icon perform the 1978 smash hit below!

“The Gambler” Lyrics

On a warm summer’s evenin’ on a train bound for nowhere,
I met up with the gambler; we were both too tired to sleep.
So we took turns a starin’ out the window at the darkness
‘Til boredom overtook us, and he began to speak.

He said, “Son, I’ve made my life out of readin’ people’s faces,
And knowin’ what their cards were by the way they held their eyes.
So if you don’t mind my sayin’, I can see you’re out of aces.
For a taste of your whiskey I’ll give you some advice.”

So I handed him my bottle and he drank down my last swallow.
Then he bummed a cigarette and asked me for a light.
And the night got deathly quiet, and his face lost all expression.
Said, “If you’re gonna play the game, boy, ya gotta learn to play it right.

You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table.
There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.

Now Ev’ry gambler knows that the secret to survivin’
Is knowin’ what to throw away and knowing what to keep.
‘Cause ev’ry hand’s a winner and ev’ry hand’s a loser,
And the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep.”

So when he’d finished speakin’, he turned back towards the window,
Crushed out his cigarette and faded off to sleep.
And somewhere in the darkness the gambler, he broke even.
But in his final words I found an ace that I could keep.

You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table.
There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.

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