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Remember When Kenny Rogers Almost Passed on ‘Islands in the Stream’?

Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton
Patrick Reviere, Getty Images

Kenny Rogers had just about given up on ‘Islands in the Stream,’ a song known today as one of the best — if not the best — country duets of all time.

The singer confessed to Taste of Country that he told songwriter Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees, “I don’t even like this song anymore” before something changed his mind. You know the rest of the story. It became an iconic hit, reaching the No. 1 position 30 years ago this week.

That something was Dolly Parton. “What we need is Dolly Parton,” Gibb told Rogers.

The singer recalls, “And my manager said, ‘I just saw her downstairs.’ So I said, ‘Go get her and bring her back.’ The two had met but weren’t friends yet, as Rogers had only appeared on her television show with First Edition.

Rogers continues, “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.”

By pure coincidence, Rogers and Parton recorded another duet in 2013. ‘You Can’t Make Old Friends‘ is the title track of his most recent album.

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