Islands in the Stream (song)
"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. It was released in August 1983 as the first single from Rogers' album Eyes That See in the Dark.
|"Islands in the Stream"|
|Single by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton|
|from the album Eyes That See in the Dark|
|Released||July 1983 (US)|
|Recorded||May 1983, Middle Ear, Miami Beach |
Lion Share Recording Studios and Ocean Way Recording, Los Angeles
|Genre||Country pop, soft rock|
|Songwriter(s)||Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb|
|Kenny Rogers singles chronology|
|Dolly Parton singles chronology|
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. 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".
- 1 Musical structure
- 2 Commercial performance
- 3 In popular media
- 4 Charts and certifications
- 5 Cover versions
- 6 Bee Gees' recorded version
- 7 Barry Gibb's demo version
- 8 Comic Relief version
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
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. 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 mediaEdit
The song was featured in a late 1983 episode of the U.S. 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, 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.
Charts and certificationsEdit
- 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.
- Swedish pop and country singer Kikki Danielsson covered the song on her 1983 album Singles Bar, with lyrics in Swedish by Ingela "Pling" Forsman as "Öar i ett hav" ("Islands in a sea").
- In 1994 the Majorcan singer Tomeu Penya recorded a version of this song with lyrics in Catalan, entitled Illes dins un riu (Islands in a stream) in the album Una aclucada d'ull. This version was a duet sung with Adriana Ceballos, an Argentinian singer. This song became very popular in Catalonia.
- It is the opening track of Barry Manilow's 2007 album The Greatest Songs of the Eighties, sung with Reba McEntire.
- 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".
- In 2009 Namibian singer Nianell and South African singer Dozi released a version on their album It Takes Two.
- In 2010 South African, Afrikaans singers Ray Dylan and Elizma Theron covered the song.
- In 2010 Irish singer Ronan Keating covered the song together with Australian country music trio The McClymonts for his album Duet.
- In 2014, Kylie Minogue and Jake Shears performed the song together. In 2018, Minogue included the song on her Kylie Presents: Golden tour.
- In 2017, Adam Harvey and Beccy Cole covered the song on their album, The Great Country Songbook Volume 2.
- In October 2017, Jimmy Fallon and Miley Cyrus performed the song on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in a recreation of Rogers' and Parton's live performance at the 26th Annual Grammy Awards.
- Blake Shelton and Emily Ann Roberts covered the song on the season 9 finale of The Voice.
- Shawn Mendes and Miley Cyrus covered this song during Musicares Person of the Year.
Bee Gees' recorded versionEdit
|"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
Barry Gibb's demo versionEdit
|"Islands in the Stream"|
|Song by Barry Gibb|
|from the album The Eyes That See in the Dark Demos|
|Recorded||May 1983 |
Miami Beach, Florida
|Songwriter(s)||Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, Maurice Gibb|
Comic Relief versionEdit
|"(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|
|Format||Digital download, CD single, DVD single|
|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. 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
|Scotland (Official Charts Company)||1|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||1|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||108|
- The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits
- "Robin Gibb, RIP: Hear the Bee Gee's Legacy in 15 Tracks". May 21, 2012.
- Johnny Walker interview with Robin and Barry Gibb BBC Radio 2 30 August 2010 17:00
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