Islands in the Stream (song)
|"Islands in the Stream"|
|Single by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton|
|from the album Eyes That See in the Dark|
|Released||August 15, 1983|
|Recorded||May 1983, Middle Ear Studios, Miami Beach |
Lion Share Recording Studios and Ocean Way Recording, Los Angeles
|Genre||Soft rock |
|Songwriter(s)||Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb|
|Kenny Rogers singles chronology|
|Dolly Parton singles chronology|
"Islands in the Stream" is a song written by the Bee Gees and sung by American country music artists Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. It was released in August 1983 as the first single from Rogers's album Eyes That See in the Dark. Named after the Ernest Hemingway novel, it was originally written for Marvin Gaye in an R&B style, only later to be changed for the Kenny Rogers album.
The song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States, giving both Rogers and Parton their second pop number-one hit (after Rogers's "Lady" in 1980 and Parton's "9 to 5" in 1981). It also topped the Country and Adult Contemporary charts. It has been certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for selling over two million physical copies in the US. 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.
Rogers and Parton went on to record a Christmas album together, and had an additional hit with their 1985 duet "Real Love".
Due to licensing reasons, this song wasn't included in digital release of Eyes That See in the Dark from Capitol Nashville. Sony Music, the current owner of RCA Nashville, protected copyrights for this recording, and is digitally available only in various compilations from Sony Music, especially that of Dolly Parton.
It knocked Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" out of No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, also topping the Country and Adult Contemporary listings. In December of that year it was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for selling over two million physical copies in the US. After it became available for digital download, it has also sold a further 834,000 digital copies in the US as of January 2019.
In Australia the song was number one for one week in December 1983 and became one of the highest selling singles of 1984.
The song reached a peak of No. 7 in the UK singles chart in 1983. Since then it has also sold 245,577 digital copies in the UK as of July 2014. As of 2017 it has racked up 287,200 downloads and 4.83 million streams in the UK.
In popular media
In April 2008, South Bend, Indiana, radio station WZOW played the song continuously for several days on end, a stunt drawing attention to the station's format change from alternative rock to adult contemporary.
Charts and certifications
- Danish blues-rock singer Peter Thorup and pop singer Anne Grete Rendtorff had great success with a version with Danish lyrics in 1984 callet Skibe uden Sejl (Ships without Sails). The song was used as title track for the Danish TV series Måske i morgen (maybe tomorrow) shown on Danish national television DR.
- The chorus of the 1998 hip-hop song "Ghetto Supastar (That Is What You Are)" is an interpolation of the chorus of "Islands in the Stream".
Bee Gees' recorded version
|"Islands in the Stream"|
|Song by Bee Gees|
|from the album Their Greatest Hits: The Record|
|Released||20 November 2001|
|Genre||Rhythm and blues|
|Songwriter(s)||Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb, Pras Michel|
|Producer(s)||Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb|
The Bee Gees performed their version live at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on 14 November 1997, which was released a year later on One Night Only, with solo vocal by Barry Gibb. A studio version was recorded for their 2001 retrospective Their Greatest Hits: The Record, which has since featured on the 2004 Number Ones and on the 2010 Mythology box set. The chorus of Pras' 1998 hit "Ghetto Supastar (That Is What You Are)", which in turn is a reworking of the original Rogers and Parton release, replaces the final chorus in the studio recording. The live version of the song appears on their Love Songs compilation.
- Personnel (studio version)
- Personnel (live version)
- Barry Gibb – lead vocals, acoustic rhythm guitar
- Robin Gibb — harmony and backing vocals
- Maurice Gibb – harmony and backing vocals, keyboard
Comic Relief version
|"(Barry) Islands in the Stream"|
|Single by Vanessa Jenkins, and Bryn West featuring Sir Tom Jones and Robin Gibb|
|from the album Islands in the Stream|
|Released||March 8, 2009|
|Songwriter(s)||Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb, Robin Gibb|
|Robin Gibb singles chronology|
On March 8, 2009, Welsh actors Ruth Jones and Rob Brydon, in character as Vanessa Jenkins and Bryn West from the hit BBC sitcom Gavin & Stacey, released a version of the song as a single for Comic Relief. Sir Tom Jones also features on the song, performing the final verse and chorus, whilst Robin Gibb appears on the single as a backing vocalist.
Re-titled "(Barry) Islands in the Stream", in reference to the Barry Island setting of Gavin & Stacey, it entered at the top of the UK Singles Chart on March 15, 2009—for the week ending date March 21, 2009. This meant the Gibb Brothers had achieved number one songs in five successive decades, the first songwriters to achieve this feat. It also made Sir Tom Jones, at the age of 68, the oldest person to have a UK number one song, until he was beaten in 2020 by Captain Tom Moore for his involvement in "You'll Never Walk Alone" at the age of 99.
The video was filmed in Barry Island, Las Vegas and the Nevada desert, with both Gibb and Jones appearing in the video alongside Jones and Brydon. Nigel Lythgoe also makes a cameo appearance as a talent competition judge.
- CD single
- "(Barry) Islands in the Stream" – 3:56
- "Wisemen" – 3:14
- "Somethin' Stupid" – 2:48
- "Islands in the Stream" (music video) – 4:21
- DVD single
- "(Barry) Islands in the Stream" (full-length video) – 8:56
- "(Barry) Islands in the Stream" (making of the video) – 14:30
|UK Singles (OCC)||1|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||108|
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- "Gibb Songs : 2001". Archived from the original on December 4, 2013.
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