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Dottie West and Kenny Rogers Were Mismatched Lovers in “What Are We Doin’ in Love”


In 1981, Dottie West recorded “What Are We Doin’ in Love” with her frequent collaborator and close friend, Kenny Rogers. The song was released as the second single from the album Wild West. 

It became West and Rogers’ third and final No. 1 on the country chart as a duo. The song was also a crossover hit for the two, reaching No. 14 on Billboard Hot 100 as well as No. 7 on Billboard Adult Contemporary charts.

How These Two Talented Singers End Up in One Beautiful Duet

Written by Randy Goodrum, “What Are We Doin’ in Love” tells the tale of mismatched lovers who shouldn’t be together but have found themselves inexplicably and somewhat delightedly drawn to each other.

“We’re like sunup and sundown. People say we’re never gonna last. We’re like uptown and downtown. You like it slow, and I like it fast. So what are we doin’ love? What are we doin’ love in a mess like this? What are we doin’ love,” the song goes.

Producer Brent Maher originally envisioned “What Are We Doin’ In Love” as a duet after he heard it for the first time during one visit to songwriter Randy Goodrum’s house. 

“Let me play you a tune I just wrote today,” Randy said, and the song’s unique chord changes absolutely knocked out Maher. 

At that time, Maher was helming a new album for Dottie West. And while West was recording “What Are We Doin’ in Love,” Rogers happened to show up at the studio and asked to sing on the record. It was at that moment that the breathtaking duet came into fruition, which West described to be her favorite duet of the many duets she recorded with Rogers in the 1970s.

Rogers’ name originally does not appear on the label – except for some overseas issues. He explained that he agreed to keep his name off at the record company’s request because they wanted it to be solely a Dottie West record. Rogers already had several duets going at the time and definitely didn’t need any further name recognition at that point in his career. Rogers loved singing with West, and he loved the song, but he wanted her to receive all the credit.

West and Rogers had been together as duet partners since 1978. The country legend revived West’s career when their song “Every Time Fools Collide” became a hit in 1978. The two talented singers quickly became one of the most successful duet partnerships since then. “What Are We Doin’ in Love” was their last recorded duet.

You can listen to the song in the video below.

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