Wednesday, September 20, 2017

"The Greatest Gift of All" by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton

Song#:  2168
Date:  12/22/1984
Debut:  83
Peak: 81
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Christmas, Country Crossover, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  After their highly successful smash #1 duet "Island in the Stream," Rogers and Parton wanted to work together again. Instead of a country-pop collaboration, they set their sites on doing something for the holiday season. The worked together and created the album Once Upon a Christmas. The album would featured six duet tracks, and two solo outings each. Parton would also write or co-write five original songs for the album. To spark some radio support, this song was chosen to be issued as a single. Written by John Jarvis, the song did get some radio action and was able to get to #40 at AC and #53 at Country. It was also able to get on the Pop chart for a few short weeks during the holiday season. The album would be highly successful going to #12 at Country, #31 Pop and #4 on the Holiday albums chart. It would be one of the most successful holiday albums of the 80s and eventually sell over two million copies.

ReduxReview:  I remember just loving this album when it came out. It quickly became my favorite Christmas album. What I liked about it was that it only featured four standard holiday songs. The rest were originals with five of them by Parton. She just hit the nail on the head with her tunes. I think they outshine any of the other tracks, including this one. The ballad is lovely, but I'm not sure why this one was chosen over one of Dolly's originals. It could be that the tune itself really leans towards standard 80s country and doesn't necessarily sound like a Xmas song. Therefore, it might have fit in with regular programming on stations. Still, it's just a shame that "Christmas Without You" or "A Christmas to Remember" didn't get a chance. ("Christmas Without You" was issued in Europe for some reason though). This tune is part of an excellent album, but it wasn't the best choice for a single.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Along with the album, the duo filmed an associated TV special titled Kenny & Dolly: A Christmas to Remember. It aired on CBS on December 4, 1984, and was a solid ratings grabber. Due to its popularity, the program was rerun for a few years during the holidays. It's now considered a bit of a holiday classic.


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