On this date in 2017, one of the most iconic duets in country music history was performed live for the very last time.
Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton released “Islands In The Stream” back in 1983 and was one of the biggest hits of each of their stellar careers.
Written by the Bee Gees, it was the first time these two icons of country music teamed up for a song and to say people took a liking to it from the jump would be an understatement. It shot up the charts, securing the number one spot on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, where it stayed for 2 weeks, but also broke into the all-genre Billboard Hot 100, where it also spent two weeks in peak position.
To prove that it has maintained a strong place of love in fans hearts, it was certified Platinum by RIAA in May of this year, 40 years after its release, and Ernest and Hailey Whitters teamed up for a killer cover in 2021. (Their music video is highly worth the watch, talk about a blast to the past with the outfits and backgrounds.)
But on this day in 2017, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton hopped on stage for the last time together to perform a song that forever intertwined their careers.
It was for a recorded concert special titled All In For The Gambler and featured a number of artists, like Chris Stapleton, Lionel Richie, Jamey Johnson, Reba, and Justin Moore, who wanted to pay their respects to an iconic artist who was dealing with some serious health problems.
Although it was clear just by looking at Kenny that his body had seen better days, his voice was still strong and the feelings of love and appreciation in his eyes are enough to put a tear or two in yours.
While all of the performances were special, his final duet with Dolly Parton had to be the best of them all.
Kenny introed the song with a statement of gratitude to all of the performers and everyone who was in attendance.
“Tonight is as much about me saying thank you as it is goodbye. 60 years of great talent. Now, without the stool.”
Gotta give Rogers tons of credit for pushing away the stool and standing for this performance. It took a ton of strength for him to do that, which makes you respect what he gave to country music even more.
Dolly than says:
“I can’t think of anybody I would rather sail away with, uh huh. And everybody gets to sing on this one. Are you ready for us to do our final “Islands In The Stream?”
Man, just saying the word “final” hit me hard and this was 6 years ago…
To say they sounded great is an understatement; they still sounded incredible.
Kenny would pass away a few years later in 2020, leaving behind a legacy in country music that brought countless numbers of fans to the genre.
Rest in peace to the great Kenny Rogers and shoutout to the always great Dolly Parton.