When Kenny Rogers ‘Dropped In’

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Before he became a huge country music star–and one of the world’s most popular male vocalists–Kenny Rogers spent a year as a member of the folk singing ensemble, the New Christy Minstrels. In 1967, he and several other members left to form a rock band known as Kenny Rogers and the First Edition and by 1968 they had scored a pop smash with a psychedelic single, “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In).” The song, written by Mickey Newbury, hit #5. It was joined a year later by another pop hit, “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town,” which reached #6, and the 1970 single, “Something’s Burning.”

All told, the First Edition scored 10 singles on the Hot 100. By the mid-1970s, Rogers began a solo career that has made him one of the most successful recording and touring artists of all time.

Rogers, born August 21, 1938, scored ten Top 10 pop hits, including his duets with Kim Carnes (“Don’t Fall in Love With a Dreamer”), Sheena Easton (“We’ve Got Tonight”) and a #1 smash with Dolly Parton (“Island in the Stream”). The tally includes his contribution to the 1985 worldwide blockbuster “We Are the World.”

On April 5, 2018, Rogers, in the midst of a farewell tour, announced that he had been forced to abruptly cancel the remaining dates due to “a series of health challenges.” His manager told People: “His doctors fully expect the outcome to be great, but they have advised him to cancel all performances through the end of the year to focus on recuperation.”

Eight dates had remained including two in June at New York’s Beacon Theatre and his final performance which had been scheduled for August 25 at the Livewire Festival in Blackpool, U.K. He died less than two years later.

Related: Our tribute to Rogers, who died on March 20, 2020

Oddly enough, the song for which Rogers is perhaps most known, 1978’s “The Gambler,” only reached #16 on the pop charts, though it was one of the singer’s numerous #1 country singles and earned him a Grammy Award. The song and album’s success led to a series of TV movies, starring Rogers.

But it was a hit with the First Edition that got him started. “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)” peaked at #5 on the Hot 100 on March 23, 1968.

Watch Kenny Rogers and the First Edition perform the song

Related: A Rogers album was side-by-side big classic rock titles among 1980’s top sellers

We ask you… have you not sung along to the chorus of Rogers’ signature tune?

Rogers’ recordings are available here.

Best Classic Bands Staff

10 Comments so far

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  1. recordhound
    #1 recordhound 22 August, 2019, 09:37

    The original name of the band was the First Edition, it was later renamed Kenny Rogers & The First Edition (after Just Dropped In and But You Know I Love You). Even the picture sleeve you show only says The First Edition.

    Reply this comment
    • Lorelei
      Lorelei 22 August, 2021, 02:09

      That’s what I was going to say Hound! And I’ve always wondered why The First Edition is never mentioned either for their hits or for Kenny Rogers. I loved Just Dropped In, etc., and they deserve recognition for what they accomplished. And I just realized that I don’t remember Kenny Rogers talking about them either. 🙁

      Reply this comment
      • carlsagan lives
        carlsagan lives 25 March, 2022, 11:53

        Yeah, you’re right! I’ve wondered the same myself. Not cool to put your name first after a couple hits, imho. Wonder how the rest of this killer band thought of that – never heard what happened.,..

        Reply this comment
  2. Bob
    #2 Bob 22 August, 2021, 14:35

    The song I enjoyed the best with The First Edition was “Something’s Burning.”

    Reply this comment
  3. John
    #3 John 24 August, 2021, 11:39

    The song is about sniffing glue. The line “I found my mind in a brown papre bag within” is a definite reference to glue sniffing.

    Reply this comment
    • JW
      JW 24 March, 2022, 00:39

      That, and about every other psychedelic or mind-altering substance in existence. 😉

      Reply this comment
  4. Frostozzy
    #4 Frostozzy 21 August, 2022, 23:20

    Checkout the first edition on season one of laugh in, rerun on Tubi. Very sixties trippy,

    Reply this comment
  5. June
    #5 June 22 August, 2022, 00:29

    Thanks for this long forgotten band remembrance.

    Reply this comment
  6. Safari Bob Grilli
    #6 Safari Bob Grilli 22 August, 2023, 11:30

    This was a good band. Kenny played bass. They had that NCM’s happy happy vibe! The famous Mickey Jones was their drummer. Right from Trini Lopez and Johnny Rivers live albums success. Every time I saw Post FE Kenny I always remembered him singing this song and hosting his own show.
    Talented dude.

    Reply this comment
  7. Keithseattle
    #7 Keithseattle 23 August, 2023, 10:07

    Right after this or before it he worked at booking entertainment at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas.

    Reply this comment

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