Hedge Fund Mogul Isn't the Only One to Listen to Kenny Rogers' 'The Gambler' over and over
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I remember the smells of PBR in the air, jocks wearing white baseball hats swizzling lacrosse sticks in their hands, and the sound of ping pong balls bouncing into plastic Solo cups like it was yesterday. But it was really the mid-'90s. This was a frequent late-night high school experience in NW Washington, DC. -- some preppy party I didn't want to be attending, and probably wasn't really welcome at. It just so happened that it was either go to these parties, or don't go to any parties at all. If I could name a theme song for these people and their parties, it would be Kenny Rogers' 'The Gambler.' I once heard that song play at a Beer Pong session at least 10 times in a row. "One more time!" Imagine watching a room full of heaving jock guys n' gals, chanting the lyrics of the most commercialized and insipid country and western singer of the '80s for half an hour, as though they were reciting Rumi or... as though it had a drop of meaning. I guess it had meaning for them.
What does disgraced Galleon Hedge Fund founder Raj Rajaratnam have to do with this? It has been revealed that “Raj paid $4 million to have Kenny Rogers come to a birthday party at his house and sing his favorite song, ‘The Gambler,’ over and over again. Kenny refused to go on after a dozen times.”
Every person has their price, seemingly to a point. Kenny's pride at the $4 million level equaled 12 consecutive performances of that song. And then he drew the red line. Must have been an interesting moment. Fair to assume that with a hedge fund ego on the loose, the cost of Kenny's appearance was printed on the guest invitation. You can imagine everyone at the party making that calculation in their heads, especially Raj at the moment of refusal. Here's a video below, so the uninitiated can get a sense of the milquetoast tune that the my high school booze-hound classmates and egomanaical hedgefunders get off on.