The Kenny Rogers Effect

| Music has power. We’ve blogged about David Gray‘s “Babylon” being used as a tool of torture, and how Barry Manilow records were played in Sydney, Australia, to flush teenage loiterers from its parks. But music can also heal, of course. A team of London neuroscientists is claiming that playing Kenny Rogers songs for stroke victims speeds their cognitive recovery. They played the Flying Burrito Brothers Band and Frank Sinatra for their patients too, but Rogers garnered the best results. Explains one researcher: “We were thinking of calling this the Kenny Rogers Effect.” [%comments]


Clearly they used post-Gram Parsons Flying Burrito Bros. because Gram's music can make the lame walk and the blind see.

C. Larity

Did they even TRY Michael Bolton?


Props to AJS. Before listening to Gram I was having strokes on a regular basis.


Just play me some Ramones and The Clash...


I would have guessed Kenny Rogers was stroke-inducing!


Did they try The Strokes?


Like rehab wasn't already painful enough.


@2: You forgot about the Hippocratic Oath: "First do no harm."

Gordon Wagner

The patients respond to the Kenny Rogers music because they're trying to get someone to turn it off.

Math Man

This post is a classic example of the speed of misinformation. The study discussed in the article only had 60 subjects, and FOUR of them improved by listening to Kenny Rogers. So the sample size is way too small to draw any conclusions.

The article also noted that the subjects performed better when listening to music that they liked, and performed worse when listening to music that they did not like. It appears that the test subjects just happened to like Kenny Rogers better than Frank Sinatra or the Flying Burrito Brothers Band.

To state that the neuroscientists are claiming that playing Kenny Rogers songs speeds the recovery of stroke victims completely misses the point of the original article.

Fred C. Dobbs

I'm agreeing with Gordon Wagner. The patients probably were trying anything to escape the Kenny Rogers music, even if it means healing faster. Know when to walk away and know when to run!

ray light

If medical science has found a "Kenny Rogers effect" it just shows that a man with a guitar and a story to tell can overpower the concepts of statistical significance any day of the week! I think if NASA managed to get Mel Tillis near a black hole, he would change the nature of the space-time continuum. At least Lost would start making some sense.

1st Ed.

and i said, 'Kenny, thanks for dropping in, just to see what condition my condition was in ... i feel better already.'


Miles Davis's "On the Corner" should get them going. It jumps!


I think there's a very simple explanation....

First, Kenny Rogers was a massive superstar. A lot of people obviously liked his music. It stands to reason that such people "respond" to his music, and that there are likely to be more of such people than those who like more esoteric singers/bands.

Second, Kenny Rogers sang songs that resonate emotionally. If someone hears that, and it touches the chords of the heart, so to speak, well, you're going to see something different, I would think.

Some time back, I had to go into the hospital. I wrote up some instructions for my family if I should encounter difficulties. One of those was to play a certain song over and over ("For Thou O Lord" by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir). I knew that it would either help me...or if not, at least I could go to my death in great peace.

Music touches us deeply. Things start firing in our hearts and minds when the right song and the right moment come together.

We don't know the half of it....



On a related note, read somewhere that in the Govt. Music College Campus, India research is underway on classical south Indian ragas ( on patients.


I would think that either Bach or Indian ragas would be the most beneficial. For in-the-womb also. The patterns are so complex and so pleasing.


I'm going to conduct my own study and use Lionel Ritchie; who could resist such classics as "Hello", "Dancing on the Ceiling", also he does a duet with Kenny Rogers. It's a win, win situation.

"Hello is it me your looking for?
I can see it in your eyes
I can see it in your smile
You're all I've ever wanted, (and) my arms are open wide..."