In 1985, Kenny Rogers released his 13th studio album The Heart of the Matter, a record overseen by legendary Beatles producer George Martin. Martin, who produced such essential LPs as Revolver and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, died Tuesday, March 8th, at age 90.
Today, Rogers, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, remembered collaborating with Martin, even questioning why the studio visionary would pair up with a humble pop-country singer.
“Sir George Martin was a wonderful, incredibly gifted person. I don’t know why he ever bothered to do an album with me, but I was thrilled and touched that he did, and I loved working with him,” said Rogers in a statement. “It may be the highlight of my personal career. He brought a whole different touch to my life and my perspective on music. I’m only one of millions who will miss him greatly.”
The Heart of the Matter, which was Rogers’ last release to top Billboard‘s Country Albums chart, bathed the smooth-voiced singer in elaborate production. More easy-listening pop than country, the record finds Rogers in a “yacht rock” phase, diving headfirst into unapologetic love songs like “Morning Desire” and the narrative “Tomb of the Unknown Love,” both of which hit Number One.
Along with Rogers, Martin also veered toward country and soft-rock with albums for the group America. Among others, he produced the band’s 1975 Hearts LP, which included the Number One single “Sister Golden Hair.”