Re-Live Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton’s Long-Lasting Friendship with Touching ‘You Can’t Make Old Friends’ Performance

On Thursday evening, viewers around the country were treated to a star-studded concert special celebrating the life and legacy of…


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

September 23, 2021


8:41 pm

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Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton; Photo Courtesy CBS

On Thursday evening, viewers around the country were treated to a star-studded concert special celebrating the life and legacy of the great Kenny Rogers

The concert special was taped in 2017 as a way to bid farewell to Rogers’ iconic touring career. 


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A post shared by Kenny Rogers (@_kennyrogers)

A true highlight of the show was when Rogers’ longtime friend and collaborator, Dolly Parton, joined him on stage for an epic finale performance. 

During their time on stage together, Parton and Rogers reprised one of their iconic duets, “You Can’t Make Old Friends.” The track, which was co-written by Ryan Hanna King, Don Schlitz and Caitlyn Smith, appears on Rogers’ final studio album of the same name.

Throughout their performance, historic photos of Parton and Rogers’ career flashed across the screen, allowing fans to re-live the magic of their lasting friendship and journey as duet partners. 

Upon Rogers’ death in 2020, Parton took to social media to pay her respects to Rogers. 

“I loved Kenny with all my heart. My heart is broken. A big ‘ole chunk of it has gone with him today,” she said. “I think that I can speak for all his family, his friends and fans  when I say that I will always love you.”

Kenny Rogers: All In For The Gambler also featured tribute performances from Chris Stapleton, Idina Menzel, Lady A, Lionel Richie, Little Big Town and Reba McEntire, who took the stage to perform some of Rogers’ greatest hits, such as “The Gambler,” “Lady,” “She Believes in Me,” “Through the Years,” “Lucille,” “We’ve Got Tonight” and more.


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A post shared by Kenny Rogers (@_kennyrogers)

Produced by Blackbird Presents, the two-hour, concert special was filmed in 2017 in honor of his retirement and honored the life and legacy of the late country music legend, who passed away in 2020. Rogers was 81 at the time of his death.

“Kenny Rogers’ enormous impact on country music was matched only by the love all the artists and fans showed Kenny on this incredible night,” said executive producers Keith Wortman and Ken Levitan. “We are so thrilled to share this special with his friends, family and fans all around the world, as he will remain forever in our hearts.”

Kenny Rogers: All In For The Gambler aired on Thursday, Sept. 23 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on CBS and was streamed live and on demand on Paramount+.

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.