Islands in the Stream – Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers
“Islands in the Stream” is a song written by the Bee Gees whose title is named after the Ernest Hemingway novel and sung by American country music artists Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. It was released in August 1983 as the first single from Rogers’ album Eyes That See in the Dark and the second pop number-one for both Rogers and Parton (after Rogers’ “Lady” in 1980 and Parton’s “9 to 5” in 1981).
It also spent two weeks as the number one country song and in the year’s final countdown was the number one song of the year of 1983. In December of that year it was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipping two million physical copies in the US. It has also sold 569,000 digital copies in the US as of November 2013. In Australia, the song was number one for one week in December 1983 and becoming one of the highest selling singles of 1984. In 2005, the song topped CMT’s poll of the best country duets of all time; Parton and Rogers reunited to perform the song on the CMT special.
In April 2008, South Bend, Indiana radio station WZOW played the song continuously for several days on end. This was a stunt used to draw attention to the station’s format change from alternative rock to adult contemporary.
Rogers and Parton went on to record a Christmas album together, and had an additional hit with their 1985 duet “Real Love”. The Gibbs originally wrote the song for Marvin Gaye in an R&B style, only later to change it for the Kenny Rogers album.