Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton didn’t know one another that well before they were brought together for his or her 1983 duet, “Islands within the Stream.” The song, written by the Bee Gees, became an enormous hit for the pair, with its country-inflected pop sensibilities. Over the years the pair sang that song together repeatedly and were dear friends until Rogers’ death on March 20, 2020.
Their final performance together happened in 2017, once they performed at a tribute concert for Rogers, which marked his long career in show business. At the Kenny Rogers: beat for the Gambler concert, which was broadcast on CBS on September 23, 2021, many other singers took to the stage to perform for him, from Lady A to Idina Menzel and Lionel Richie. But the foremost iconic moment came when Rogers was joined by his longtime friend on stage for a rendition of their classic hit, also as a couple of surprises.