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Kenny Rogers Opens Up About Aging

Country music star discusses memoir 'Luck or Something Like It' and the benefits of getting older

AARP Interview with Kenny Rogers

In his autobiography "Luck or Something Like It," Kenny Roger shares details about his family and his musical career. — Bob King/Redferns/Getty Images

Turns out Kenny Rogers can tell a sharp story on the page, not just behind a mike. In Luck or Something Like It: A Memoir, the gravelly voiced country balladeer recalls singing everything from doo-wop to jazz to folk before finding success with "Ruby," "Lucille," "The Gambler" and other iconic tunes. Yes, he's recorded 65 albums and sold 190 million records, but Rogers has also excelled as an actor, photographer and restaurateur. At 74, the Houston native shares some of the philosophies that shaped his life.

Kenny Rogers: A life in pictures

Q. Why did you want to write a book?

A. I didn't. But [collaborator] Patsi Cox said, "You have to, Kenny. So many guys had an impact on music and died without telling us how it happened." The more questions she asked me, the more fun I had.

Q. You just got back from some grueling tours overseas. Any tips on aging well?

A. I had a friend who was 92. His motto was, "Every day I wake up on this side of the grass, I'm a happy guy." I think getting old is a privilege. We've all had our turn at life — now all we can do is guide others through.

Q. Getting older changes your craft. In the book you talk about throat surgery, for example.

A. I had nodes then. Now I have something else. With aging, your vocal cords stretch a little bit. But I solve that with voice exercises.

Q. You found love again in your 50s.

A. Wanda [Miller, whom he married in 1997] is a very special girl, and it took me a long time to find the line between being driven and being selfish. When I was younger, I wanted to be successful so bad that I sacrificed my family for it. But the older you get, the more you tend to say, "Wait a minute. Look what I've got here. Let me protect that."

Next: What his 8-year-old twin boys have helped him with. »

Q. You just got back from some grueling tours overseas. Any tips on aging well?

A. I had a friend who was 92. His motto was, "Every day I wake up on this side of the grass, I'm a happy guy." I think getting old is a privilege. We've all had our turn at life — now all we can do is guide others through.

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