Islands in the Stream (song)

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"Islands in the Stream"
Krdpislands.jpg
Single by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton
from the album Eyes That See in the Dark
B-side
ReleasedJuly 1983 (US)
RecordedMay 1983, Middle Ear, Miami Beach
Lion Share Recording Studios and Ocean Way Recording, Los Angeles
GenreCountry pop, soft rock[1]
Length4:08
LabelRCA
Songwriter(s)Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb
Producer(s)Gibb-Galuten-Richardson
Kenny Rogers singles chronology
"You Were a Good Friend"
(1983)
"Islands in the Stream"
(1983)
"This Woman"
(1984)
Dolly Parton singles chronology
"Potential New Boyfriend"
(1983)
"Islands in the Stream"
(1983)
"Save the Last Dance for Me"
(1984)

"Islands in the Stream" is a song written by the Bee Gees and sung by American country music artists Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. 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.[2] It was released in August 1983 as the first single from Rogers' album Eyes That See in the Dark.

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' "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.[3] 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".

Musical structure[edit]

The song is sung in C major moderate 4/4 time, with Rogers and Parton alternating lead vocals. Their version features a key change from C major to A-flat major.[4]

Commercial performance[edit]

It knocked Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart" out of No. 1 on Billboard's 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.[3] It has also sold 569,000 digital copies in the US as of November 2013.[5] While the song was at the very top of the country charts, another of Rogers' singles "Scarlet Fever" reached #5.

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.[6] As of 2017 it has racked up 287,200 downloads and 4.83 million streams in the UK.[7]

In popular media[edit]

The song was featured in a late 1983 episode of the US daytime soap opera Days Of Our Lives as well as 1984 episodes of General Hospital and One Life To Live. Other shows to feature the song include Jane The Virgin, Supergirl, The Good Doctor, The Resident, Stranger Things and Gavin and Stacey.

In November 2005, the song was sung by Michael Scott and Jim Halpert in Season 2, Episode 9 of the Office.

In April 2008 South Bend, Indiana, radio station WZOW played the song continuously for several days on end,[8] a stunt drawing attention to the station's format change from alternative rock to adult contemporary.

In October 2017, the song appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon performed by Miley Cyrus and Jimmy Fallon. Cyrus portrayed her godmother Parton, while Fallon donned a silver beard and wig as Rogers.

Chart performance[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

Bee Gees' recorded version[edit]

"Islands in the Stream"
Song by Bee Gees
from the album Their Greatest Hits: The Record
Released20 November 2001
FormatCD, cassette
Recorded2001
GenreRhythm and blues
Length4:23
LabelPolydor
Songwriter(s)Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb
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.[30] 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)

with

Barry Gibb's demo version[edit]

"Islands in the Stream"
Song by Barry Gibb
from the album The Eyes That See in the Dark Demos
LanguageEnglish
ReleasedNovember 2006
FormatDigital download
RecordedMay 1983
Miami Beach, Florida
GenrePop, country
Length3:59
LabeliTunes
Songwriter(s)Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb

Barry Gibb's demo for Kenny Rogers had previously been bootlegged but was officially released in November 2006. It features Barry Gibb on solo vocal, with 3-part harmony on the chorus.[31]

Personnel

Comic Relief version[edit]

"(Barry) Islands in the Stream"
ByrnNessaGibb.jpg
Single by Vanessa Jenkins, and Bryn West featuring Sir Tom Jones and Robin Gibb
from the album Islands in the Stream
ReleasedMarch 8, 2009
FormatDigital download, CD single, DVD single
GenreCountry, comedy
Songwriter(s)Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb, Robin Gibb
Producer(s)Hugh Padgham
Robin Gibb singles chronology
"Too Much Heaven"
(2007)
"(Barry) Islands in the Stream"
(2009)
"I've Gotta Get a Message to You"
(2011)

On March 8, 2009, British 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,[32] 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. 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.

Track listing[edit]

  • CD single
  1. "(Barry) Islands in the Stream" – 3:56
  2. "Wisemen" – 3:14
  3. "Somethin' Stupid" – 2:48
  4. "Islands in the Stream" (music video) – 4:21
  • DVD single
  1. "(Barry) Islands in the Stream" (full-length video) – 8:56
  2. "(Barry) Islands in the Stream" (making of the video) – 14:30

Charts[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (2009) Peak
position
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[33] 1
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[34] 1

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2009) Position
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[35] 108

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Robin Gibb, RIP: Hear the Bee Gee's Legacy in 15 Tracks". May 21, 2012.
  2. ^ Johnny Walker interview with Robin and Barry Gibb BBC Radio 2 30 August 2010 17:00
  3. ^ a b "American single certifications – Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton – Islands in the Stream". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  4. ^ "'Islands in the Stream' sheet music". Musicnotes.com. Archived from the original on November 13, 2017. Retrieved November 12, 2017.
  5. ^ Bjorke, Matt (November 13, 2013). "Country Chart News – The Top 30 Digital Singles – November 13, 2013: CMA Awards Drive Sales; Eric Church "The Outsiders" #1; Taylor Swift "Red" #3". Roughstock. Archived from the original on April 21, 2014.
  6. ^ "Country Bites News snippets June 30 - July 6, 2014". Country Routes News. July 13, 2014. Archived from the original on July 23, 2014.
  7. ^ "Happy Birthday Dolly Parton! Her most downloaded songs in the UK revealed". officialcharts.com. Archived from the original on March 22, 2017.
  8. ^ :Indiana Aiwaves: Archived July 13, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton – Islands in the Stream" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  10. ^ Lwin, Nanda (2000). Top 40 Hits: The Essential Chart Guide (1st ed.). Canada: Music Data Research. ISBN 1-896594-13-1.
  11. ^ "Musicline.de – Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  12. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  13. ^ "Charts.nz – Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton – Islands in the Stream". Top 40 Singles.
  14. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton – Islands in the Stream". VG-lista.
  15. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  16. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  17. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton – Islands in the Stream". Singles Top 100.
  18. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  19. ^ "Kenny Rogers Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  20. ^ "Kenny Rogers Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  21. ^ "Kenny Rogers Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  22. ^ David Kent's "Australian Chart Book 1970-1992" Archived March 5, 2016, at Archive.is
  23. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada".
  24. ^ "The Official New Zealand Music Chart". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.
  25. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 29, 2013. Retrieved 2015-05-09.
  26. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1984/Top 100 Songs of 1984". Archived from the original on May 30, 2016.
  27. ^ "Singles bar - Svensk mediedatabas (SMDB)". Archived from the original on July 25, 2011.
  28. ^ The Greatest Songs of the Eighties at AllMusic
  29. ^ "It Takes Two – Nianell & Dozi". Archived from the original on October 19, 2014. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  30. ^ "Gibb Songs : 2001". Archived from the original on December 4, 2013.
  31. ^ "Gibb Songs : 1983". Archived from the original on January 10, 2015.
  32. ^ "What's On TV.co.uk". Archived from the original on February 20, 2012.
  33. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  34. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  35. ^ "The Official UK Singles Chart 2009" (PDF). UKChartsPlus. Retrieved 10 July 2018.

External links[edit]