Dolly Parton Names Kenny Rogers Duet She Can “Hardly Sing”

Warner Music Nashville / YouTube

Dolly Parton’s Heart Broke When Kenny Rogers Died

Kenny Rogers passed away on March 20, 2020 at the age of 81. His longtime friend and duet partner, Dolly Parton, shared a video reacting to the news.

I loved Kenny with all my heart…And my heart is broken,” she said. “A big ol’ chunk of it has gone with him today. I think that I can speak for all his family, his friends, and fans, when I say that I will always love you.”

As the three-year anniversary of Rogers’ death approached in 2023, Parton reflected on their friendship.

I miss him so much,” Parton told PEOPLE in an interview. “I’ve lost so many wonderful people in my life in the last few years. But Kenny — he was very, very dear and special and I never get tired of hearing us sing, all the years that we were on stage together.”

How Did She Feel About “Islands In The Stream?”

Parton detailed how much she loved singing with Rogers. She especially loved singing their iconic duet, “Islands in the Stream.”

You know how sometimes you get tired of singing something because it just becomes routine?” Parton asked. She went on to explain how that wasn’t how she felt about “Islands in the Stream.”

“...I would always lighten up when that particular song was due in the setlist. It just always made everybody feel so good in the audience and the audience always loved singing it. I never got tired of Kenny’s voice.

But there is one song of hers and Rogers’ that Parton shies away from a bit more, though for an emotional reason.

Why Dolly Parton Can’t Sing “You Can’t Make Old Friends”

That song is “You Can’t Make Old Friends,” which she and Rogers released in 2013. He retired just a few years later, in 2018.

[We recorded that song] just in time too, honestly,” she said. “And now I can’t hardly sing it.

Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers in their music video for "You Can't Make Old Friends"
Warner Music Nashville / YouTube

Parton spoke about the bond she and Rogers shared, and why “You Can’t Make Old Friends” applied to their friendship.

“You can make new friends that feel like old friends, but there’s just something about the people that have spent years together,” she said. “You have a history, and you learn about each other, inside and out. I knew Kenny very well. We’re very similar. We’re like brother and sister really.”

After taking a deep breath, Parton said, “He’s up there singing. I know that.”

You can tell how much Parton misses Rogers even after three years. We sure miss him too…