In the world of country music it doesn’t get much bigger than Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, two crossover stars whose duets “Islands in the Stream” and “Real Love” became certified classics worldwide. Now, the two country icons will come together for a final performance.
Rogers, who is retiring from touring after six decades, has announced plans for a farewell Nashville concert on Oct. 25, featuring a star-studded lineup of artists who will pay tribute to “The Gambler” hitmaker. The likes of Parton, Little Big Town, The Flaming Lips, Alison Krauss, Jamey Johnson, Idina Menzel, Elle King and many other special guests will join Rogers for a night of live music and celebration.
The all-star concert will mark the final time Rogers and Parton perform together at a public event. The two first collaborated in 1983 for their platinum hit “Islands In The Stream,” written by the Bee Gees, which reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts. The pair of legendary musicians have been recording together for more than 30 years, scoring a number of other hit records, such as “Real Love” (1985), “Love Is Strange” (1990), and “You Can’t Make Old Friends” (2013).
“Dolly is one of those rare people, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, she is everything you think she is and more,” Rogers told Rolling Stone Country. “And that’s a rare thing to be able to say about people. Neither of us takes ourselves for granted, and we’re both kind of astonished as to what’s happened with our lives and our careers. We’re both very appreciative of it.”
The last time Rogers and Parton performed together in public was at the CMT Music Awards 12 years ago, where their version of “Islands in the Stream” was crowned the greatest country duet of all time.
“All In for the Gambler: Kenny Rogers’ Farewell Concert Celebration” will take place at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena and will also be taped for future broadcast.
Speaking of his decision to quit live performing, Rogers told Rolling Stone Country: “This is all I’ve done for 60 years, but my mobility has gotten kind of strange, and I don’t like to go on stage and have to apologize. It’s one of those things – you make decisions based on what life gives you. I’ve had a great life, I can’t complain, but it’s time for me to hang it up, I think.”
Tickets for the farewell show go on sale Friday, July 21, at 10 a.m. A portion of the proceeds will go towards the T.J. Martell Foundation and the Kenny Rogers Children’s Center.