Dolly Parton Reflects On Friendship With Kenny Rogers: “I Miss Him So Much”

“He’s up there singing. I know that,” Parton said of her late friend.

It’s been nearly three years since Kenny Rogers died, and Dolly Parton said she still thinks of him often.

"I miss him so much," Parton told People in a recent interview. "I've lost so many wonderful people in my life in the last few years. But Kenny—he was very, very dear and special and I never get tired of hearing us sing, all the years that we were on stage together."

Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton

ABC Photo Archives/Getty Images

The country music legend went on to share some of her favorite memories with Rogers, who died in March of 2020 at the age of 81. Parton said she especially cherishes singing "Islands in the Stream" with her longtime friend and musical collaborator. 

"You know how sometimes you get tired of singing something because it just becomes routine? But I would always lighten up when that particular song was due in the setlist,” Parton said of their chart-topping 1983 duet. “It just always made everybody feel so good in the audience and the audience always loved singing it. I never got tired of Kenny's voice."

Parton and Rogers joined forces again in 2013 to record "You Can't Make Old Friends,” a heartfelt song about friendship that Parton said holds more meaning now than ever. 

"You can make new friends that feel like old friends, but there's just something about the people that have spent years together," she explained to People. "You have a history, and you learn about each other, inside and out. I knew Kenny very well. We're very similar. We're like brother and sister really."

"He's up there singing," Parton said. "I know that."

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