All good things come to an end.
It’s been 12 years too long since Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton last hit the stage together, when CMT crowned their rendition of the Bee Gee’s original “Islands in the Stream” country’s greatest duet of all time. And, now, the duo is back for one final performance.
During the epic “All In for the Gambler: Kenny Rogers’ Farewell Concert Celebration” on Wednesday, Rogers will be joined by artists from genres across the board, including Little Big Town, Jamey Johnson, Elle King, Idina Menzel, The Flaming Lips, Alison Krauss and many more. But best of all, Rogers will take the stage with his frequent duet partner, Parton, for their last-ever performance. The show will be taped at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena for later broadcast.
“I take great pride in that we have a very warm, sweet friendship that we’ve had for 30 years,” the legendary singer-songwriter, 79, told PEOPLE about his friendship with the country star. “It all started when Barry Gibb wrote ‘Islands in the Stream,’ and he gave it to me to record — he was producing an album.”
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After “singing it for four days” and coming to a conclusion that he wasn’t the biggest fan of the future award-winning hit, Rogers took it up with Gibb, who suggested it just needed some final touches.
“I finally said, ‘Barry, I don’t even like this song anymore’ and he said, ‘You know what we need? We need Dolly Parton,'” Rogers recalls of the a-ha moment. “I had a recording studio at the time and she was downstairs and my manager Ken Kragen said, ‘I just saw her!’ and I said, ‘Well, go get her!’ He went downstairs and she came marching into the room, and once she came in and started singing the song was never the same. It took on a personality of its own.”
Aside from “Islands in the Stream,” Rogers and Parton released several additional hits, including their second No. 1 “Real Love,” “Love Is Strange” and the 2014 CMA-nominated “You Can’t Make Old Friends.”