Kenny Rogers’ older brother Lelan Rogers preceded the legendary country music singer in death. Lelan Rogers, a recording industry executive, produced some of Kenny Rogers’ earliest music; the record producer died of respiratory failure in 2002 when he was 74 years old.
Lelan’s younger brother, Kenny Rogers, passed away on March 20, 2020 at his home in Sandy Springs, Georgia. Kenny Rogers’ family released an official statement late Friday night which reads, “The Rogers family is sad to announce that Kenny Rogers passed away last night at 10:25 p.m. at the age of 81. Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family.”
Kenny Rogers was the fourth of eight children; Lelan was the eldest child. Here’s what we know about Lelan Rogers:
Lelan Rogers Was a Record Producer & Recording Executive
Lelan Rogers was born on June 9, 1928 in Cherokee County, Texas, the eldest of eight children, which included Kenny Rogers. Lelan was also involved in the music industry alongside his brother; an independent recording industry executive and record producer, Lelan set up several record labels in Texas in the early 1960s, according to Discogs.com.
Lynn Records and Sabra Records are among Lelan’s earliest labels. In 1966, he joined the International Artists label, where he signed and produced artists like Red Crayola, Bubble Puppy, 13th Floor Elevators and Golden Dawn, among many others.
Lelan revived the label International Artists in the late 1970s. According to Discogs, “the label was revived [by Lelan Rogers] in Los Angeles to reissue records as well as archival and new material.” Some of Lelan’s other labels included Silver Fox, House of the Fox and Lenox. He also produced recordings for Big Al Downing, Elderberry Jak, Bettye Lavette, and more.
According to the Washington Post, Lelan produced some of his younger brother’s earliest songs. Lelan died of respiratory failure in Nashville, Tennessee in 2002; the record producer was 74 at the time of his death.
His Father Was an Alcoholic, According to Kenny Rogers
Lelan’s brother Kenny opened up about their father’s issues with alcoholism and how it affected him and his siblings during a 2012 interview with Reuters. The Country Music Hall of Fame inductee told the publication that drinking “broke [his father] down,” and he resigned to never drink alcohol after watching his father struggle with the disease for most of his life growing up.
“I think that one of the real tragedies in my life is that I never really got to know why my dad drank,” Kenny Rogers told Reuters. “He was an alcoholic, but during that time, post-War World Two, a lot of people were unemployed and ended up drinking. He couldn’t really support his family and I think it just broke him down. It breaks my heart that I didn’t know that before he passed away.”
He added, “I never drank in my life. I saw it destroy him and saw it destroy other people I work with, so I made a conscious decision about this. Plus I didn’t know if there was any predetermination for me as the son of an alcoholic to become addicted, so I just never tried it.”