Kenny Rogers Calls on ‘Old Friend’ for New Duet
Published: Monday, September 23, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 23, 2013 14:09
Some singers just gel so well together that one duet is not enough. Such is the case with country singers Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, who announced this past week a new duet will precede Rogers’ forthcoming album as its first single.
“You Can’t Make Old Friends,” the pair’s first new duet since the 1990s, was released Sept. 16 on iTunes. This comes years after anything new as far as recording goes for Rogers and Parton’s partnership.
This new song is a slow-tempo ballad between two old pals, very fitting for Rogers and Parton, who have worked together on many projects in the past decades. Rogers made several appearances on Parton’s two short-lived variety shows in the ’70s and ’80s, and they recorded a Christmas album in 1984 along with a television special to promote the record.
Their biggest success of all came with “Islands in the Stream,” their 1983 megahit that topped the pop and country charts. “Real Love” in 1985 and “Love is Strange” in 1990 were also issued from the singers, with a joint tour in 1985 to support “Real Love.”
Other television and concert specials trickled out from Rogers and Parton over the years, such as appearances at Parton’s mountain theme park Dollywood and collaborations with other artists.
Separately, Rogers and Parton have had enormous careers, respectively racking up slews of hit songs, appearing in films and on television, and continuously recording new music.
Rogers’ chart toppers over the years have included “The Gambler,” “Lady, “Lucille,” and “She Believes in Me.” He became the oldest singer to have a number one song when his “Buy Me a Rose” hit the top in 2000, a record that has since been broken by Willie Nelson.
Parton’s signature hits include “9 to 5,” “Jolene,” “Coat of Many Colors,” and “I Will Always Love You,” which clinched the top spot twice, in 1974 and 1982, respectively. Tied with Reba McEntire for most country number ones for a woman, Parton’s career has spanned over 50 years, with no end in sight as she continues to record and tour.
Rogers’ new album, You Can’t Make Old Friends, is due out Oct. 8, and is his first major release in seven years. Altogether, over 60 albums have been released in his 50-year career.
“You Can’t Make Old Friends” comes almost exactly 30 years after “Islands in the Stream” broke through, taking the singers to the top on two charts. It serves as a definite milestone in the collaborative career of two of country music’s legendary acts. With numerous past projects in many areas of entertainment, this latest release from Rogers and Parton summarizes their relationship very finely in a song that seems tailor-made for these old pros.
“You can’t make old friends/you can’t make old friends/It was you and me since way back when/and you can’t make old friends.”