HomeEntertainmentMusicCountry MusicDolly Parton Pays Tribute to Kenny Rogers Nearly Three Years After His Passing

Dolly Parton Pays Tribute to Kenny Rogers Nearly Three Years After His Passing

by Craig Garrett
Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers
(Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

Although it’s been 3 years since the world lost Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton cherishes memories of their friendship and musical partnership. “I miss him so much,” Parton recently told People Magazine. Rogers succumbed to natural causes in March 2020 at the age of 81.

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I’ve lost so many wonderful people in my life in the last few years,” Parton added. “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.”

Of all the songs Parton and Rogers have performed together, “Islands in the Stream” has remained one of her most cherished memories. This musical duo achieved a No. 1 spot on the pop charts with their song back in 1983.

You know how sometimes you get tired of singing something because it just becomes routine?” she quipped about the hit penned by Bee Gees’ members Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, and Maurice Gibb. “But I would always lighten up when that particular song was due in the setlist. 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.”

There’s another duet Dolly Parton performed with Kenny Rogers that she can hardly sing anymore

In 2013, Parton and Rogers joined forces to record the soulful “You Can’t Make Old Friends,” composed by Ryan Hanna King, Don Schlitz, and Caitlyn Smith. The track highlighted their deeply rooted bond as two country music icons. “[We recorded that song] just in time too, honestly,” explained Parton. She’s alluding to Rogers having to step away from his duties in 2018 due to medical concerns. “And now I can’t hardly sing it.”

The lyrics of the song have never been more relevant to Parton than they are today. “You can make new friends that feel like old friends, but there’s just something about the people that have spent years together,” Parton said in an interview touting her new line of box mix Duncan Hines treats. “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.” After a pause, she continued, “He’s up there singing. I know that.”

Despite her hectic schedule, Parton continues to make time for meeting new people—she’s currently working on a brand-new rock album with some of the most iconic artists in the industry. On a recent appearance on The View, Parton elaborated on her reasoning behind a rock-infused album. “If I’m going to be in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, I better do something to earn it,” she explained. “So I’m doing a rock ‘n’ roll album and I’m having a lot of the rock stars that I met that night be on the album with me.”

Parton confirmed that the upcoming album will also feature contributions from John Fogerty, Pink, and Brandi Carlile. Comprised of rock covers and new music, the collection will also boast Steve Perry and Steven Tyler as contributors.