Kenny Rogers Opened Up About Heartbreaking Moment Telling Dolly Parton Goodbye in Moving 2017 Interview

by Joe Rutland
(Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Country music legends Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton were magic on stage together. Telling Parton goodbye wasn’t easy for him to do.

Let’s turn the clock back to 2017. Rogers, who was embarking on a farewell tour, called Parton and broke the news to her. He talked about it in an interview with Closer Weekly.

“I told Dolly, ‘I am going to say goodbye and spend more time with my wife and kids,'” Kenny Rogers said recalling the conversation. Parton replied, “It’s been 13 years since we sang on stage together. You cannot get out of town without us doing something.”

The town Parton was talking about was Nashville. There were 30 years of performing songs like “Islands in the Stream” between the two.

Kenny Rogers Gets Together With Parton For One Final Duet

What happened? Well, Rogers put on a farewell concert on Oct. 25, 2017, at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, according to Country Rebel. Parton got up on stage with Kenny Rogers and sang “Islands in the Stream” and “You Can’t Make Old Friends,” among other songs.

“Working with Dolly is always emotional because we have so much history together,” Kenny Rogers said. Sadly, Rogers died on March 20, 2020, at 81 years old.

Here are Rogers and Parton singing “Islands in the Stream” from the 2017 concert.

Willie Nelson Actually Was Offered ‘The Gambler’ By Country Music Legend

Would it be “The Gambler” without Rogers’ voice? No. Yet Willie Nelson let the world in on a little secret when he was interviewed in 2020 on TODAY.

Nelson said Kenny Rogers thought the song would be a better fit for him, not Rogers. The Texas native said Rogers approached him. Heck, Kenny Rogers even sang the song to Willie.

But Nelson passed on it. It was a great song, but Nelson already was doing a long song every night. His concern was over adding another long song to his show’s setlist.

“I was doing every night a song called ‘The Red Headed Stranger’ which has 100 verses in it, and it’s a long song,” Nelson said. “And I said I just don’t want to do another long song, and I can’t quit doing ‘Red Headed Stranger.’ So he said, ‘OK, I’ll record it myself.’ And so he did, and there it is.”

“The Gambler” turned into one of country music’s biggest hits of all time. The song that Kenny Rogers records even leads to a TV movie.