Dolly Parton’s ‘I Will Always Love You’, which she wrote and originally released in 1974, was famously recorded by Whitney Houston.
Before Whitney Houston, Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” almost ended with Elvis Presley.
In a new cover story for W Magazine, the country legend reveals why the king of rock and roll didn’t get a chance to record the iconic 1974 ballad.
According to Parton, she met Presley’s manager, who wanted half of the 75-year-old’s publishing rights in exchange for the singer recording the song.
Parton said he didn’t have it.
“I said, ‘I’m sorry, but I can’t give you publications,’” she recalled to the outlet. “I wanted to hear Elvis sing it, and it broke my heart – I cried all night.”
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Nevertheless, the singer/songwriter said that she does not regret her decision.
“I had to put that copyright in my pocket,” Parton explained. “You have to take care of your business! Everyone’s going to use you if they can. These are my songs – they’re like my children. And I hope they support me when I’m older.” will do!”
The outlet noted that Presley never got the chance to record the song, yet it played an important role in his life.
“Elvis’ wife Priscilla told me that when she and Elvis got divorced, Elvis sang my song for her,” Parton said. “It touched me very deeply.”
Presley and Priscilla divorced in 1973. The star died in 1977 at the age of 42.
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Houston’s cover of “I Will Always Love You” was released in 1992 for “The Bodyguard”. The film’s soundtrack sold 17 million copies and twice broke SoundScan’s record for single-week sales, Hollywood Reporter shared. According to the outlet, “The Bodyguard” earned a Grammy for Album of the Year and “I’ll Always Love You” won Record of the Year with Best Female Pop Vocal.
Houston died in 2012 at the age of 48.
“He even played the song at Whitney Houston’s funeral,” Parton said. “After that, I thought, I’m sure they’ll play the same song when I go.”
Looking back on his career, Parton said there was one song that greatly influenced him as a young artist.
“When I first heard ‘Puppy Love’ on the radio, I set about killing myself,” she said. “I was sitting on the counter at my aunt’s house, and all of a sudden I heard my voice. I slammed on the floor, ’cause she was wiping. I was trying to get on the radio. To this day, I’ve never done anything Which was even more exciting than hearing myself on the radio for the first time.”
As far as fellow musicians are concerned, there was one that caught the attention of this icon.
“In the early days, I had a big crush on Johnny Cash,” she said. “He was young and skinny, and he just had that magnetism. The way he spun — you know, very sexy. I found out later that he was just withdrawing from drugs, but it still touched me.” Gone. He was so sexy.”
Parton is the second most nominated woman in Grammy history, behind only Beyoncé, who has won 79 times and 24. The country icon earned a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award a decade ago.
In between his victories, Parton picked up two Grammys for the massive hit “9 to 5” and another for “Trio”, his first collaborative album with Emmylo Harris and Linda Ronstadt. An updated version of “Jolene” won Parton and the Pentatonix a trophy. At the 1983 show, Legend received a nomination for a re-recording of “I’ll Always Love You”.
A collaborative performance of the song with Vince Gill earned him a nomination on the 1996 show—two years after Houston’s famous rendition.