Kenny Rogers Was the Stream Between the Islands of Pop and Country

Kenny Rogers always acknowledged he wasn't a hard country singer.

"I've always been too pop for country and too country for pop," Rogers told Rob Tannenbaum at Rolling Stone back in 2001, when he was still basking in the afterglow of the success of "Buy Me a Rose," the last single of his to top the Billboard Country charts. A decade later, Rogers told Dan Rather he was a "country singer with a lot of other musical influences," a framing that acknowledged how the icon had strayed from the genre's ideals -- while reinforcing the idea that Kenny Rogers is still, at his core, a country singer.