It was 1983 when Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers scored a No. 1 hit together. The song, “Islands in the Stream,” was about the enduring love between two people. Though they’re both known for country music, the song was a great crossover success. This upbeat, uplifting tune got plenty of play on average pop radio stations across the country.
Written by the hitmaking Gibb brothers of BeeGees fame, “Islands in the Stream,” resonated with audiences in a special way. Carried along by the current of love, and with the support of each other, the characters in the song are confident they’ll make it. Parton and Rogers had collaborated before, but only infrequently. And still, in spite of the success of the song, they didn’t record another duet for quite a long time.
Together Again, At Last
However, whenever the opportunity came along, they were happy to work with each other again. You see, Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers truly respected each others’ talent. What’s more, they got along quite famously, as Biography reports. They made such great collaborators in part because they were such good friends. The song they recorded together in 2013 plays tribute to that relationship.
“You Can’t Make Old Friends” was released 30 years after their first big hit. It pays tribute to the honesty, understanding and compassion that old friends bring to the table for one another. In a later stage of life, this song allowed the two country stars to reflect on the way relationships evolve over time. As Dolly Parton put in during a promotional interview according to Metro, there are different kinds of soulmates. She and Kenny Rogers were never a romantic couple, but they forged an enduring relationship of a different kind: a lifelong friendship. When Kenny sadly passed away in March 2020, Dolly had nothing but nice things to say about her lifelong friend.