Whitney Houston's 'I Will Always Love You': Behind The Song

Whitney Houstons I Will Always Love You

On Sunday night's Grammy Awards, Jennifer Hudson paid tribute to the late Whitney Houston , who was found dead a day earlier in Beverly Hills, by delivering a teary-eyed rendition of her most famous song, 'I Will Always Love You.' What many do not know is that 'Love You' is a tune with a long and interesting musical history that dates back to 1974 and has a connection to the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley.

'I Will Always Love you' was written by country superstar Dolly Parton on June 6, 1974, as the second single from Parton's 13th solo studio album, Jolene. That's right, by 1974, Dolly Parton had already released 13 albums. And it may interest fans of the song to know that while 'I Will Always Love You' is most certainly a love song, it's not really about the deeply passionate parting of two lovers that was conveyed in Houston's cover; the song is about Parton's professional parting of ways with her onetime partner and longtime mentor Porter Wagoner.

The song went all the way to #1 on the country charts, and along with 'Jolene,' arguably one of Parton's finest songs, propelled her out of Wagoner's shadow and onto the country A-list in her own right.

The song brought Parton a fan in the unlikely form of rock god Elvis Presley, who expressed interest in recording a cover version of the tune. This, of course, delighted Parton.

There was a catch, however: Elvis' formidable manager, Tom Parker, insisted that she sign over 50 percent of the publishing royalties to Presley. That was a problem for Parton, who had a policy against signing away her publishing rights — no matter how big the star wanting to record her track.

'He was planning to record my song, 'I Will Always Love You.' He invited me down to the studio, and the day of the studio, Colonel Tom Parker called and said that they only recorded songs that they had the publishing on, and I couldn't do that,' Parton performance recaps until the hangover wears off!

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