Lady Antebellum took on one of Kenny Rogers' biggest songs for their performance on CMT GIANTS Kenny Rogers: A Benefit for MusiCares, singing Rogers' iconic duet with Dolly Parton, "Islands in the Stream." Group members Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood connected over video chat from their respective homes for the performance, giving new meaning to the phrase "islands in the stream" amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The group was also joined remotely by the members of their band and Kelley and Scott played the roles of Rogers and Parton, respectively. Their voices layered with some harmonies from Haywood and his acoustic guitar as well as two electric guitars, a bass guitar, drums and a piano, all combining for an excellent at-home rendition of the famous duet. "Islands in the Stream" was recorded by Rogers and Parton in 1983 and was released as the first single from Rogers's album Eyes That See in the Dark. The song hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is a career song for both stars.
"When I think of Kenny Rogers, what songs comes to mind? 'Islands In The Stream,' that one is a special one," Scott said. "That was one of the first songs that we sang together and then we ended up doing it live, gosh probably a hundred times at this point. So 'Islands In The Stream' for sure is one of the first songs that I think of, and then if there was another one it would have to be 'The Greatest,' that might be my favorite Kenny Rogers song."0comments
Parton was also featured on the special and sang Rogers' "Sweet Music Man," sitting on a chair surrounded by candles and wearing all white as she strummed her guitar. "I know that we all know Kenny is in a better place than we are today," Parton said in a video she shared after her friend's death. "But, I’m pretty sure he’s gonna be talking to God some time today, if he ain't already. He's going to be asking him to spread some light on a bunch of this darkness going on here. I loved Kenny with all my heart and, and my heart is broken, and a big old chunk of it has gone with him today."
CMT GIANTS Kenny Rogers was hosted by Rita Wilson and also featured Gavin DeGraw, Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires, Jennifer Nettles, Lionel Richie, Michael McDonald, Randy Houser, Rascal Flatts, Vince Gill, songwriter Don Schlitz ("The Gambler") and singer-songwriter Kim Carnes ("Don’t Fall in Love With A Dreamer"). Performances were interspersed with rare archival photos, interviews and performances as well as clips and commentary from Rogers.