Flashback: Kenny Rogers and the First Edition

Friends Share Memories of Their Time Together

Country Music Hall of Fame member Kenny Rogers has been one busy fellow. He just concluded a three-day stint (Jan. 15-17) with the Nashville Symphony’s Pop series program. On Saturday (Jan. 17), he joined members of the First Edition at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum for a panel discussion.

Their appearance was in conjunction with Kenny Rogers: Through the Years, an exhibit hosted by the Hall of Fame. The exhibit runs through June 14, 2015.

Led by moderator Peter Cooper of the Hall of Fame, Rogers and fellow First Edition members Gene Lorenzo, Mary Arnold Miller, Mike Settle and Terry Williams shared stories of their time together. Mickey Jones was unable to attend due to illness.

Photos, audio and video clips played behind the performers.

Rogers, Settle and Williams told of leaving the New Christy Minstrels in 1967 to form another band. The search for a name was on, and someone saw “first edition” in the front of a book.

Record producer Jimmy Bowen signed the group to their first contract.

Band members took turns talking about traveling to shows, playing all over the world and having the opportunity to design their stage clothes.

They told of stopping a show in Boston so they could watch their first television appearance that had been taped earlier.

Rogers added he loves story songs and songs that tackle social issues.

So what about their legacy asked Cooper. Settle thinks the First Edition was the best group of that time. Williams says they stayed together because they were strong performers. Miller cited the TV show as part of their legacy.

To close out the panel discussion, a guitar was brought to Williams, and he accompanied the others in a performance medley, as they dubbed it. The appreciative crowd was treated to snippets of “Just Dropped In (To See What My Condition Is),” “Reuben James,” “Something’s Burning,” “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town,” “Tell It All” and “Don’t You Know I Love You.”

The First Edition left the stage to a standing ovation.

Copy editor and researcher at CMT.com