The country music community lost a legend when Kenny Rogers passed away from natural causes at the age of 81 on March 20. On April 8, Kenny was honored during CMT GIANTS Kenny Rogers: A Benefit For MusiCares. During the special, artists performed some of Kenny’s biggest hits from their homes, while raising money for the MusiCares COVID-19 relief fund. Of course, Dolly Parton, 74, who collaborated with Kenny on the iconic song “Islands in the Stream” and was one of his longtime friends, took part in the special.
“My favorite memory of Kenny Rogers is when he came to help me out on a show that I had called Dolly,” she revealed. “Kenny was starting out on his own and he was good enough to come be on that television show and that’s when we got to be friends. After “Islands in the Stream,” we got to tour around all over the world. I had so many things about Kenny that I loved and so many precious memories.”
Dolly then revealed that her favorite song by Kenny is “Sweet Music Man.” She explained that she sometimes sings the song when she’s sitting around on her own, and she blessed viewers with a touching performance of it during the special. Wearing an all-white outfit, Dolly was surrounded by candlelight as she played guitar and softly sang the tune.
All the feels as Kenny Roger's long-time friend @DollyParton sings "Sweet Music Man." Talk about the ultimate tribute. 💔
— CMT (@CMT) April 9, 2020
Other artists who performed during the special included Jennifer Nettles, Rascal Flatts, Gavin DeGraw, Lady Antebellum and more. Lionel Riche, Blake Shelton and others also appeared to share their fond memories of the singer. Half of all the funds raised during the telecast will go directly to those in the Nashville country community who are struggling while out of work during COVID-19.
Encore screenings of CMT GIANTS Kenny Rogers: A Benefit For MusiCares will be airing later this week. On MTV Live, the special will air on April 10 at 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. ET, while it’s also re-airing on CMT on April 11 at 12:00 p.m. ET and on CMT Music on April 12 at 8:00 p.m. ET.