Dolly Parton / Kenny Rogers

Islands in the Stream

Composed by Barry Gibb / Maurice Gibb / Robin Gibb

Song Review by

The four minutes and eight seconds of pop majesty which make up "Islands In The Stream" provided an oasis on pop radio in 1983. For The Bee Gees and co-producers Karl Richardson and Albhy Galuten it was the culmination of decades of hard work, polishing a brilliant diamond for two superstars. Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton embrace the opportunity and ride the uplifting melody resplendent in words of love and devotion for all its worth. Racking up more than 2 million sales the single was Rogers only platinum 45 RPM and his biggest success on RCA Records. The same goes for Dolly, who had all her hits on RCA (though Parton's composition "I Will Always Love You" as performed by Whitney Houston was four times bigger than this monster hit, "Islands In The Stream" remains Parton's biggest record as a peformer ). From Rogers' Eyes That See In The Dark album this epic of two lovers pledging forever to each other while the chaotic waters swirl around them is exotic both in lyric and musical accompaniment. It is one of those rare, magical songs that bursts out of the radio speakers and demands you listen from start to finish, and when it's over, it isn't, because that melody just keeps swimming around in your head. Though The Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody" may be their biggest "standard", a song that Nina Simone, Janis Joplin, and so many others interpreted in such a way as to call it their own, "Islands In The Stream" is arguably The Bee Gees and company's greatest production achievement on an outside project from a list that includes gems by Frankie Valli, Dionne Warwick, Andy Gibb, Samantha Sang, along with songwriting and backing vocals for Rare Earth. Two huge country artists who clearly are good friends come together with one of the great pop groups of all time to generate an exquisite achievement in sound. As Marty Balin's "Miracles" and Bobby Hebb's "Sunny" have a special place in pop history as extraordinary works of art, so too does "Islands In The Stream", one of the few songs that can truly be called perfect.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Greatest Hits [RCA] 1982 RCA 4:08
Eyes That See in the Dark 1983 Castle Music Ltd. 4:10
No Image 1985 RCA/Columbia Home Video-Musicvision
Greatest Hits [RCA] 1990 RCA 4:08
Contemporary Country: The Early '80s 1991
Various Artists
Time/Life Music
Magic Moments [Warner] 1992
Various Artists
Warner Bros.
The RCA Years 1967-1986 1993 RCA 4:08
The Essential Dolly Parton, Vol. 1: I Will Always Love You 1995 RCA 4:09
No Image 1996
Various Artists
RCA 4:09
Decade of Hits 1997 Reprise / Warner Bros. 4:07
The Ultimate Collection 1997 BMG International 4:10
The Best Country Ballads in the World Ever 1998
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:09
Through the Years: A Retrospective 1999 Capitol 4:08
Islands in the Stream: The Greatest Hits 1983-1988 1999 Music Club Records 4:11
All the Hits & All New Love Songs 1999 EMI Music Distribution 4:10
Classic Country: 1980-1984 1999
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:10
Legendary Dolly Parton 2000 BMG International 4:10
Romantic Duets [K-Tel] 2000
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 4:11
Greatest Country Hits, Vol. 2 2001 Curb 4:08
Collection [Madacy] 2001 Madacy 4:13
Country Legends [Columbia River] 2002
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:10
Ultimate Dolly Parton 2003 RCA 4:10
Classic Country: The '80s 2003
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:09
The Greatest 2003 Rio Creek 4:11
42 Ultimate Hits 2004 EMI Music Distribution 4:13
Classic Country: Great Duets [#1] 2004
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:09
Classic Country: Great Duets [#2] 2004
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:12
The Essential Dolly Parton 2005 BMG Heritage 4:10
Ultimate Easy Album 2005
Various Artists
Sony BMG 4:07
The Kings and Queens of Country [Sony] 2005
Various Artists
Sony BMG 4:10
Love Songs [RCA/Legacy] 2006 Legacy / RCA Legacy 4:10
21 Number Ones 2006 Capitol 4:08
Through the Years [Madacy 3 Disc] 2006 Madacy 4:13
Forever Kenny Rogers 2006 Madacy Distribution / Madacy 4:13
The Very Best of Dolly Parton [BMG 2007] 2007 Sony BMG 4:10
Superstars of Country [Time Life] 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:12
A Love Song Collection 2008 Capitol/EMI Records / Capitol 4:09
The Tour Collection [Box Set] 2008 Sony BMG 4:10
From the Heart 2009 Legacy 4:10
The Pop Years: 1982-1983 2009
Various Artists
Demon Music Group 4:09
Dolly [RCA/Legacy] 2009 Legacy / RCA / RCA/Legacy 4:11
The Best Year of My Life: 1983 2009
Various Artists
Sony Music
The First 50 Years: The Greatest Duets 2009 Time/Life Music 4:10
Essential 3.0 2010 Legacy / RCA / Sony Legacy 4:10
Pure...Country 2010
Various Artists
Sony Music 4:10
Ministry of Sound: Guilty Pleasures 2011
Various Artists
Ministry of Sound 4:10
Easy 80s 2011
Various Artists
Time Life / Time/Life Music 4:09
BBC Radio 2's Pick of the Pops 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music 4:10
Easy 80s: Lost in Love 2011
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:09
Pure...80s 2012
Various Artists
Sony Music 4:08
Romantically Yours: Greatest Love of All 2012
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:11
Legends of Country 2013
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:12
100 Hits: 80s Essentials 2013
Various Artists
100 Hits 4:10
The Box Set Series 2014 Legacy / RCA 4:11
Pure... American Anthems 2014
Various Artists
Sony Music 4:08
The  Box Set Series: Contemporary Country Hits 2014
Various Artists
Legacy 4:10
NOW That's What I Call ACM Awards 50 Years 2015
Various Artists
Acm / Now! 4:09
The Country Album [Universal] 2015
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 4:10
Country 2016 BMG / Sony Music 4:10
Decades of #1's: 80's 2016
Various Artists
Sony Music 4:08
The '80s Love Album 2017
Various Artists
Crimson
30 Stars: Country
Various Artists
Sony Music 4:09
A Little Bit Country [Sony]
Various Artists
Sony Music 4:09
American Heartland: Legends of Country
Various Artists
Sony Music 4:09
Len Goodman's Ballroom Bonanza
Various Artists
Sony Music
No Image
Various Artists
Crimson 4:10
Play Something Country
Various Artists
Sony Music
Romantically Yours
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:11
The  Sound of Nashville
Various Artists
Sony Music
The Duets Album [UMTV]
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 4:10
Ultimate... Country
Various Artists
Sony Music 4:09
blue highlight denotes editor's pick