Kenny Rogers Almost Scrapped Recording "Islands in the Stream" Until Dolly Parton Changed His Mind
Thank goodness for Dolly.
If you're anything like us during the coronavirus outbreak, it's taken a whole lot of Dolly Parton to get us through each day. We've been watching Dolly Parton's Heartstrings on Netflix and streaming her songs on Spotify 'til the cows come home. Perhaps, above all, we've been finding comfort and joy in Parton's beautiful duets with the musical legend, Kenny Rogers.
One of our favorite of their duets? "Islands in the Stream," of course. Written by the Bee Gees and first performed by Rogers and Parton on Rogers' 1983 album Eyes That See in the Dark, it's hard to imagine any other pair making this song such a classic.
Little did we know, however, Rogers' was on the brink of scrapping this song completely while in the process of recording it for his album when Parton saved the day. In a 2013 interview that we dug up from Taste of Country, Rogers tells the country music outlet the about the classic single that almost never was. After Rogers tells interviewer Billy Dukes' that he first became acquainted with Parton on her TV show (presumably Dolly Parton & Friends, a country music performance show hosted by Parton) he shares the story behind "Islands in the Stream."
"And then when we go to L.A. and I'm doing 'Islands in the Stream' and I'd sung that song for four days and I finally just told [Bee Gees co-founder and songwriter] Barry Gibb, I said, 'I don't even like this song anymore.' And he said 'What we need is Dolly Parton.' And my manager said, 'I just saw her downstairs.' So I said, 'Go get her and bring her back,'" explained Rogers.
What happened next is the magic that only Rogers and Parton can create: "So he brought her back in and once she came in that song was never the same. She lit it up and we became good friends from that point on," recalled Rogers.
We're so glad this song didn't wind up on the cutting room floor. It's safe to say we have a whole new appreciation for one of our favorite country music duets of all time. Who's ready to queue up the hit and sail away with us to another world?