Kenny Rogers scored a career song with "The Gambler," but he originally wanted his friend Willie Nelson to record the iconic track. Fortunately for Rogers, Nelson just wasn't interested at the time, as he explains in a new interview.

“Through the years, him and I were big pals,” Nelson reminisces about Rogers, who died on March 20, during a recent interview on Today. “In fact, he tried to get me to record "The Gambler.""

As Nelson explains, the two were together "somewhere, I don’t know, and he was like, ‘I think you should do it,' and he played it for me and I said, ‘You know, I think it’s a great song, but I don’t think I’m going to do it,’ because at the time, I was doing a song every night called "Red Headed Stranger," which has 100 verses in it,” Nelson tells NBC’s Jenna Bush Hager. “I just didn’t want to do another long song, so he said, ‘Okay, I will record it myself,’ so he did."

In fact, Rogers took “The Gambler” straight to No. 1 following its release in 1978. It even won him a Grammy, for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male, in 1979.

Of course, Nelson is doing mighty fine without that particular song in his repertoire. In fact, he just released his 70th studio album, First Rose of Spring.

“I enjoy making records and being in the studio and playing and singing, and yes, I still enjoy writing,” Nelson says.

LOOK: Willie Nelson Through the Years