The Gambler

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About The Gambler

"The Gambler" is a song written by Don Schlitz, recorded by several artists, most famously by American country music singer Kenny Rogers. Don Schlitz wrote this song in August, 1976 when he was 23 years old. It took two years of shopping the song around Nashville before Bobby Bare recorded it on his album "Bare" at the urging of Shel Silverstein. Bare's version did not catch on and was never released as a single, so Schlitz recorded it himself, but this version failed to chart higher than No. 65. However, other musicians took notice and recorded the song in 1978, including Johnny Cash, who put it on his album Gone Girl. However, it was Kenny Rogers who made the song a mainstream success. His version was a No. 1 Country hit and made its way to the Pop charts at a time when Country songs rarely crossed over. It was released in November 1978 as the title track from his album The Gambler which won him the Grammy award for best male country vocal performance in 1980. In 2006 Don Schlitz appeared in the Kenny Rogers career retrospective documentary "The Journey", where he praised both Rogers' and Butler's contributions to the song stating "they added several ideas that were not mine, including the new guitar intro". 


Year:
2012
60 Views

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About 20 years ago, on a train bound for nowhere,
I met up with The Gambler; We were both too tired to sleep.
So we took turns a starin' through the window at the darkness.
Til' boredom overtook us and he commenced to speak. 

He said: "Son, I've made a life out of readin' people's faces,
"And knowin' what their cards were, by the way they held their eyes.
"And if you don't mind my sayin', I would say you're out of aces;
"And for one taste of your whiskey, I will give you some advice." 

So I handed him my bottle, and he drank down my last swallow.
Then he bummed a cigarette; then he bummed a light.
The night got deathly quiet and his face lost all expression.
He said: "If you're gonna play the game, boy, you better learn to play it right." 

"'Cos ev'ry gambler knows that the secret to survival,
"Is knowin' what to throw away and knowin' what to keep.
"And ev'ry hand's a winner, just like ev'ry hand's a loser.
"And the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep. 

"You got to know when to hold 'em; know when to fold 'em.
"Know when to walk away; know when to run.
"You don't ever count your money while you're sittin' at the table.
"There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin' is done."

"You got to know when to hold 'em; know when to fold 'em.
"Know when to walk away; know when to run.
"You don't ever count your money while you're sittin' at the table.
"There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin' is done." 

And when he finished speakin', he turned back t'ward the window.
Put out his cigarette; faded off to sleep.
And somewhere in the darkness, the gambler he broke even.
But in his final words I found an ace that I could keep.


"You got to know when to hold 'em; know when to fold 'em.
"Know when to walk away; know when to run.
"You don't ever count your money while you're sittin' at the table.
"There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin' is done." 

"You got to know when to hold 'em; know when to fold 'em.
"Know when to walk away; know when to run.
"You don't ever count your money while you're sittin' at the table.
"There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin' is done." 

"You got to know when to hold 'em; know when to fold 'em.
"Know when to walk away; know when to run.
"You don't ever count your money while you're sittin' at the table.
"There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin' is done."

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Johnny Cash

John R. "Johnny" Cash (February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003), was an American singer-songwriter, actor, and author, who has been called one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Although he is primarily remembered as a country music icon, his songs and sound spanned many other genres including rockabilly and rock and roll—especially early in his career—as well as blues, folk, and gospel. This crossover appeal led to Cash being inducted in the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Gospel Music Hall of Fame. more »

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Written by: Don Schlitz

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

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"The Gambler Lyrics." Lyrics.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 31 May 2020. <https://www.lyrics.com/lyric/27569636/Johnny+Cash>.

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