Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton shared a really special moment together singing “Islands in the Stream” for the last time at Rogers’ retirement show. The country pop legend played his farewell show at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on October 25, 2017, with a star-packed line-up of guest artists.
The highlight of the show was when Parton joined Rogers for three songs. The pair clearly enjoyed the moment together when singing “Islands in the Stream”, which was a US number one hit duet for them in 1983. Their voices working together is such a treat to hear and they clearly had plenty of chemistry even all these years later.
Before starting “Islands in the Stream”, Rogers said “Tonight is as much about me saying thank you as it is goodbye. It’s been 60 years of great talent.” Parton then declared “I can’t think of anyone I would rather sail away with, and everybody gets to sing on this one. Are you ready for us to do our final ‘Islands in the Stream?’”
Rogers and Parton have shared a friendship over many decades and together onstage they just put out a great vibe that the crowd absolutely picked up and sent right back at ‘em. The romantic vibe of the soft rock classic had many couples in the crowd embracing and singing along, while Rogers and Parton also embraced as they closed the show. Another popular Rogers and Parton duet is their 2013 release “You Can’t Make Old Friends”, which you can hear below.
At the farewell concert Parton sang on the pair’s two duets “Islands in the Stream” and “You Can’t Make Old Friends”, as well as her signature hit “I Will Always Love You.” An all-star list of guest artists also joined the show, such as Kris Kristofferson, Alison Krauss, Travis Tritt, Reba McEntire, Lionel Richie, The Flaming Lips, Linda Davis and many more. Clearly Rogers made a lot of friends over his seven decades in the business.
Rogers announced his retirement tour, The Gambler’s Last Deal, in 2015 and the shows took place across 2016 and 2017. He decided it was time to call it a day as he was battling numerous health issues, including a diagnosis of bladder cancer. The country legend had booked shows in 2018 but eventually cancelled them on the advice of doctors. He later passed away at his home at the age of 81 on March 20, 2020 due to natural causes.
Rogers’ duet with Parton on “Islands in the Stream” was his biggest hit, going three times Platinum in the US. The two definitely had some real magic when they worked together, as their 1980 duet “Lady” also went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The song subsequently went Gold in the US and stayed on top of the chart for six weeks, making it Rogers’ longest running number one hit on the Hot 100. If you would like to see more from Kenny Rogers, you can subscribe to their YouTube channel or follow them on Facebook.