I was barely a month old when it happened, but on this date in 1978 Kenny Rogers recorded what, to many, would become his signature song.

To a lot of millennials and younger, Kenny Rogers is just the guy in that Geico commercial that looks like Santa Claus.


The song, written by Don Schlitz, had actually been released twice before.  Both Schlitz and Bobby Bare recorded the song previously, but it was Kenny Rogers that made the song a classic.  The song became the title track for an album released by Rogers in November of 1978, and the album, based on the success of the title track alone, won Rogers a Grammy.

Everyone from Geico to Johnny Cash to the Muppets has cashed in on the song, and it all started with a morning recording session on June 16th, 1978.