Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers' incredible life-long friendship explained
18 August 2022, 14:07
Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers are two of the greatest country singers of all time and the pair shared a truly unique bond and friendship.
Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers’ friendship spanned more than three decades and it started after they collaborated on the track ‘Islands in the Stream’.
This iconic country music duo had a fascinating relationship, here’s everything you need to know about Dolly and Kenny’s partnership.
How did Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers become friends?
Dolly and Kenny’s friendship began after they recorded their ‘Islands in the Stream’ duet in 1982. Individually, the artists had relatively successful careers and had started to make names for themselves on the country music scene.
Dolly explained how she knew of Kenny before recording ‘Islands in the Stream’ and said that she “loved” Kenny’s music.
"I first became aware of Kenny when he was with a group called First Edition. I heard a song called 'I Just Dropped In to See What Condition My Condition Was In,” she said during an appearance on CMT Giants (via PopCulture).
- When Kenny Rogers ruled Glastonbury with a singalong of 'Islands in the Stream' and country hits
- Watch Kelly Clarkson's incredible cover of Dolly Parton's 'I Will Always Love You'
"I thought that was very clever, but I loved the sound of his voice and I kind of followed around to see who he was and got more involved in his music. I loved all of Kenny's songs. I just love his sound."
In 2017, Kenny spoke with ET Canada about his relationship with Dolly and described the country legend’s friendship as “great”.
Kenny explained: “It’s been great, the thing about Dolly is unless you make her mad and I’ve never done that. She always, everything she says comes from love, so you have to take it that way.
“She can say the most bizarre things and she does and if you remember that it came from love you can’t be upset.”
What songs did Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers record together?
‘Islands in the Stream’ is the most well-known collaboration from Dolly and Kenny. The duet became a number one hit on the Billboard chart in 1983 and spent 24 weeks in the chart.
Dolly and Kenny also had other collaborations together including the tracks ‘Real Love’ and ‘Love Is Strange’. The pair also recorded a Christmas album together, it was titled Once Upon A Christmas, it was released in 1984.
In 2013, the pair also had a song together titled ‘You Can’t Make Old Friends’ which was written for them. The theme of the song is about the impact of long-term friendships and was inspired by Dolly and Kenny’s friendship that lasted for over three decades.
What was Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers’ final performance together?
Dolly and Kenny performed their final duet together on October 25, 2017 in Nashville at the Bridgestone Arena.
The event that took place was titled Kenny Rogers: All In for the Gambler. It was Kenny’s final concert before retirement and commemorated his career.
What did Dolly Parton say about Kenny Rogers' death?
Kenny Rogers sadly passed away in March 2020 and Dolly Parton led the tributes to her longtime friend. Dolly responded to the sad news via social media and posted a video tribute to Kenny.
She said: "Well, I couldn't believe it. This morning when I got up and turned on the TV... they told me that my friend and singing-partner Kenny Rogers had passed away.
- Dolly Parton will star in movie version of her new book produced by Reese Witherspoon
- Dolly Parton's reimagined country Christmas Carol is coming to London's West End
"And I know that we all know Kenny is in a better place than we are today, but I'm for sure, he's going to be talking to God sometime today if he ain't already. He's going to be asking him to spread some light on a bunch of this darkness going on here.
"But I loved Kenny with all my heart. My heart's broken and a whole chunk of it has gone with him today. And I think, I can speak for all his family, friends, and fans when I say that I will always love you."