Does it get more iconic than “I Will Always Love You?”
Written and originally recorded in 1973, Dolly Parton famously wrote “I Will Always Love You” on the same day that she wrote another Dolly Parton classic, “Jolene.”
On March 18th, 1974, it was issued as the second single from her 1974 album Jolene, written for her longtime business partner and friend, Porter Wagoner, after she made the difficult decision to leave The Porter Wagoner Show.
The song reached the top of the charts in June… and then Elvis came calling.
According to an interview with CMT, Elvis Presley loved the song and wanted to record it himself, which sounded like a great idea at the time, but Elvis wanted half of the money from publishing. And while many thought she was crazy, Dolly ultimately refused.
“I mean, it was like the worst thing. You know, it’s like, ‘Oh, my God … Elvis Presley.’ And other people were saying, ‘You’re nuts. It’s Elvis Presley. I mean, hell, I’d give him all of it.’
I said, ‘I can’t do that. Something in my heart says, Don’t do that.’ And I just didn’t do it, and they just didn’t do it. But I always wondered what it would sound like. I know he’d kill it. Don’t you? He would have killed it. But anyway, so he didn’t.
Then when Whitney came out, I made enough money to buy Graceland.”
Enough money to buy Graceland… what a legend.
The song was re-recorded for Dolly’s movie The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, topping the charts yet again. She then recorded it once more in 1995 as a duet with Vince Gill. That version was Grammy nominated.
And finally, the Whitney Houston version.
Recorded in 1992, it went on to become one of the biggest songs of all time, a signature tune for Whitney. It won Grammys, it smashed chart records… we’re talking MEGA-hit. And it got Dolly PAID.