Last duet: Kenny, Dolly announce final performance together

NASHVILLE — Two of country music’s biggest stars, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, whose onstage chemistry spawned hit duets like Islands in the Stream and Real Love, will be making their final performance together this year.

Rogers, who is retiring from touring, says his final performance with Parton will be part of an all-star farewell show to be held at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Oct. 25. The two have been performing together for more than 30 years since Islands in the Stream, written by the Bee Gees, became a pop crossover platinum hit in 1983.

Other performers for the farewell show are Little Big Town, Flaming Lips, Idina Menzel, Elle King, Jamey Johnson and Alison Krauss, with more names to be announced. Rogers made the announcement Tuesday at a press conference in Nashville. Tickets for the show will go on sale July 21.

Rogers, 78, said it’s been more than a decade since he performed with Parton for a CMT special.

“I think we owe it to her to let her go on with her career, but we owe it to me to do it one more time, and we’re going to do that,” Rogers said after the press conference.

In his 60-year career, Rogers has had several successful duet partners, including Dottie West, Kim Carnes, Sheena Easton and Linda Davis, but Parton’s star power made their collaborations a tour de force.

“We can go three years without talking to each other and when we get together, it’s like we were together yesterday,” Rogers said. “We both feel that comfort.”

“Performing with Kenny for the last time ever on October 25th is going to be emotional for both of us, but it’s also going to be very special,” Parton said in a statement. “Even though Kenny may be retiring, as he fades from the stage, our love for each other will never fade away.”

The actor, singer and photographer with hits like The Gambler, Lady and Lucille, announced in 2015 he would do a final farewell tour before retiring to spend more time with his family.

Rogers said he and Parton would definitely sing “Islands in the Stream,” but beyond that, he wasn’t sure yet.

“Whether we do something else, I don’t know,” Rogers said. “That would require a rehearsal and I don’t know that Dolly or I, either one, are up for that.”

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