“Islands In The Stream” — Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton

No Words, No Song
5 min readMar 21, 2020
Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash

We are all just islands in the stream…especially at the moment.

As turmoil swirls around us, we get to decide whether we hold fast and stand up for the human values of decency, kindness and compassion. Or lose our grip on what makes us human and allow ourselves to be swept along by the raging torrent carrying of all the world’s troubles before it.

Written by the Bee Gees, “Islands In The Stream” is a touching love song…a song about what it means to be with that special person you’ve waited for your whole life…

You do something to me that I can’t explain
Hold me closer and I feel no pain
Every beat of my heart
We got something going on

We all need that this week. As the world pulls down its shutters in a way that anyone who didn’t live through the carnage of WW2 couldn’t begin to understand, having someone to hold you close makes all the difference to your well-being when the going gets tough.

“Islands In The Stream” is a great metaphor too, although the Bee Gees didn’t come up with it. “Islands In The Stream” was borrowed from the title of an Ernest Hemingway novel, and boy, did Ernest Hemingway know how to write.

I know it’s an entirely different genre, but the Bee Gees were no slouches when it came to writing themselves.

They were big stars in the 1960s with songs like “New York Mining Disaster 1941” and “Massachusetts” before going on to become even bigger stars in the 1970s with “Night Fever” and “Stayin’ Alive”.

But in many ways, their biggest musical legacy is in the huge roster of hit songs the Bee Gees wrote for other artists. They were prolific in their output over the years and at one point nine of the songs in the Billboard Hot 100 were either written or performed by the Bee Gees (or both).

Paul Gambaccini had it about right when he said the Bee Gees were second only to Lennon and McCartney as the most successful songwriters in the history of British popular music.

They are the only songwriting team to have Number One songs in each of the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s, an accolade which surpassed even the many stellar achievements of Lennon and McCartney in the songwriting department.

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No Words, No Song

Without words, it’s just a nice tune. Add words — now you’ve got a song. And songs can change your world. I write about some that changed mine.