Dolly Parton Tributes Kenny Rogers With Poignant ‘Sweet Music Man’ [Watch]
Dolly Parton was among the country stars who appeared on a CMT tribute to Kenny Rogers on Wednesday night (April 8), paying musical tribute to her collaborator and longtime friend by singing "Sweet Music Man."
Parton joined Gavin DeGraw, Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires, Jennifer Nettles, Lady Antebellum, Lionel Richie, Michael McDonald, Randy Houser, Rascal Flatts, Vince Gill and more stars in remote performances for CMT Giants Kenny Rogers: A Benefit for MusiCares, a special to honor the life and musical legacy of the country and pop superstar, who died on March 20 at the age of 81 from natural causes.
She performed dressed all in white, seated on a stool in front of an arrangement of candles and accompanying herself on acoustic guitar as she delivered a wistful, emotional rendition of one of Rogers' signature songs, which he wrote and released as the lead single from his Daytime Friends album in 1977. She dropped her voice to a whisper as she brought the song to a close with, "Sing your song, sweet music man / I believe in you."
Parton has previously recorded "Sweet Music Man" as part of her Here You Come Again album in 1977, and she performed the song with Alison Krauss at a 2010 concert saluting Roger's 50 years in the entertainment business.
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Parton and Rogers collaborated several times over the decades, most notably on "Islands in the Stream," their first and most successful duet from 1983. The song reached No. 1 across several genres and all over the world. They worked together for the final time toward the very end of Rogers' career when they released "You Can't Make Old Friends" in 2013, and Parton appeared on stage at Rogers' final concert in Nashville in 2017.
Parton turned to social media on March 21 to remember Rogers as "a wonderful man and a true friend."
"You never know how much you love somebody until they’re gone," Parton wrote in a post to Facebook. "I’ve had so many wonderful years and wonderful times with my friend Kenny, but above all the music and the success I loved him as a wonderful man and a true friend. So you be safe with God and just know that I will always love you."
"I loved Kenny with all my heart," Parton said in a somber video she posted alongside her statement. "My heart's broken, and a big ol' chunk of it has gone with him today."
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