Throw away what you thought you knew about the iconic song.
Photo courtesy of JB ROWLAND/GETTY IMAGES
?I Will Always Love You,? is a number one smash hit. Varying artists have tried to capture the charts by recording it. Especially ever since the beloved, and uber-talented Whitney Houston turned it into an American standard.
Many people grew up only knowing her version of the song. When asked who sings the song, the top answer is always Houston. However, another legendary singer actually wrote the song.
One Miss Dolly Parton.
No Feud Just Money
One of the biggest misconceptions about the song is that it led to a feud between Parton and Houston in the early 1990s. Tabloids seized on the outsized success of the song to make the claims that the divas were arguing about who?s song it is.
Parton set the record straight. She had sent the song over to the producers of The Bodyguard but hadn?t heard anything back from them. In fact, she didn?t know they had chosen ?I Will Always Love You? until she heard it on the radio. Like the rest of us, she was blown away by Houston?s version of the song.
Parton has been quoted as saying this about the alleged feud between her and Houston: ?And somebody ? there was a tabloid story saying that Whitney and I were in a big feud, she said it was her song and I said it was mine. None of that was ever true. I was so flattered, so honored, and so lucky that she did it.? Why is she lucky? As the sole credited songwriter on the song, Parton rakes in all of the royalties that the song generates.
The True Meaning Of The Song
One might think that ?I Will Always Love You? is a romantic break up song. Certainly, the lyrics lend themselves to the interpretation. But back in 1973, when Parton first wrote the song, it was for a different kind of breakup.
At the beginning of her career, Parton worked with Porter Wagoner. She appeared on his show and recorded music with him. It was a very successful pairing. Parton, however, was ready for something new. She wanted to be a solo act.
When Parton approached Wagoner and let him know that she was ready to spread her wings, he scoffed. He wanted her to stay and continue their successful partnership. Parton took to writing ?I Will Always Love You? as a way to let him know that she was serious about leaving the show and their partnership.
It turned out to be one of the most profitable breakups ever.