Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers Had ‘Tension’ and Revealed Why They ‘Never Went There’

Dolly Parton has collaborated with many singers throughout her career. One of them was Kenny Rogers, who was also a good friend. They had a great answer to why they never dated.

How Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers met

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Parton and Rogers released their first duet, “Islands in the Stream,” in 1983. This was after Parton became aware of his music and loved his voice.

“I first became aware of Kenny when he was with a group called First Edition,” she said during the CMT GIANTS special honoring Rogers, according to “I heard a song called ‘I Just Dropped In to See What Condition My Condition Was In.’”

She then said, “I thought that was very clever, but I loved the sound of his voice and I kind of followed around to see who he was and got more involved in his music.”

Eventually, the singers released multiple duets. Their first one was very successful.

What songs did Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton sing together?

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The singers ended up releasing many songs together. A year after “Islands in the Stream,” the singers released “The Greatest Gift of All” for Christmas. They then released “Real Love” in 1985, “Love Is Strange” in 1990, and “You Can’t Make Old Friends” in 2013. 

Their last performance together was in 2017 at the All In For The Gambler: Kenny Rogers’ Farewell Concert Celebration, according to Global News. This event was in celebration of Rogers, who was retiring due to being ill.

“How about me and you go out like rock stars?” Parton asked him on stage. They performed “Island in the Stream” together. Parton also sang “I Will Always Love You” to him. 

Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers had ‘tension’

Kenny Rogers stands behind Dolly Parton hugging her in a photo from 1987
Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton in 1987 | Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

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Some fans have wondered why the duet partners never dated. They had a sense of humor when asked this.

“First of all, she’s hard to look at for me,” Rogers joked in an interview with Today in 2017. “I’m not his type,” Parton added. But then Rogers went on to say the fact they didn’t date has actually helped their art.

“I’m a believer that tension is better if you keep it than if you satisfy it,” he said. “And then secondly, she said no to me.” Parton then explained that she didn’t think their friendship could lead to something romantic. 

“Nah. You know what, we were almost like brother and sister,” she said. “And it would almost be like incest. So we just never went there.”

Parton has been married to Carl Thomas Dean since 1966. Rogers died in 2020 and was married to Wanda Miller.