Image Source Shutterstock licensed to SyndicatedNews: Dolly Parton wrote the iconic I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU when she was going to break up her singing duet with Porter Wagoner. Whitney Houston made the song a monumental hit.

By Ruthie DiTucci

Now that Beyonce has made her foray into country music, we cannot fairly go forward without mentioning Whitney Houston and Dolly Parton’s iconic and so very unexpected good fortune with the I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU song.

The song “I Will Always Love You,” is still considered a powerhouse ballad. It was written by Dolly Parton in 1973. She penned it as a farewell to her musical partner and mentor, Porter Wagoner, as she decided to pursue a solo career.

Originally, the song was intended as a goodbye message to Porter, expressing gratitude and love. Little did Dolly (or anyone) know that the song would become a global sensation.

Elvis Presley expressed interest in recording Dolly Parton’s heartfelt ballad “I Will Always Love You”. However, the collaboration never materialized due to Presley’s manager, Colonel Parker who insisted on half of her publishing rights.

Dolly met with Elvis’s manager to discuss the song, but the manager insisted on half of the publishing rights in exchange for Elvis singing it. Heartbroken, Dolly declined, choosing to retain the entire copyright herself.

Despite this, the song held a special place in Elvis’s heart. Upon meeting Dolly in person, Priscilla told her that Elvis sang I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU to her during their divorce.

Ultimately, it was Whitney Houston who would immortalize the song with her iconic rendition in the movie “The Bodyguard” in 1992. Dolly’s timeless creation continues to resonate across generations, touching hearts and inspiring artists worldwide.


The Bodyguard movie was being pulled together for a 1990’s release starring Kevin Costner as the bodyguard and Whitney Houston as the famous singer and actress, Rachel Marron. The movie’s plot revolves around Rachel Marron, who receives death threats from an obsessed stalker. To protect her, Frank Farmer (Kevin Costner), a former Secret Service agent, becomes her bodyguard.

Costner starred in the movie but was also a producer on THE BODYGUARD and they were still looking for a powerful song to feature. He called Steven Foster who was handling the music arrangements and suggested Dolly Parton’s “I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU.” Foster had never heard the song before but from the moment Foster heard it, he said he knew that was the missing piece for the movie.

Whitney Houston’s Iconic Performance

Whitney Houston, known for her soulful R&B music, delivered an unforgettable rendition of “I Will Always Love You” in the film. Her vocal prowess and emotional delivery turned the song into an instant classic. The combination of her voice and the heartfelt lyrics resonated deeply with audiences worldwide.

The Shock and Impact

The world was indeed surprised that this timeless ballad was originally written and sung by Dolly Parton. Her version of I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU was released in 1974, and had already achieved success in the country music scene. However, it was Whitney Houston’s rendition that catapulted the song to global fame.

The fact that a song associated with country music found new life in the hands of an R&B superstar was groundbreaking and showcased the universality of well written lyrics.

Legacy and Record-Breaking Soundtrack

The accompanying soundtrack album for The Bodyguard became the best-selling soundtrack of all time, selling over 45 million copies worldwide. Whitney’s version of “I Will Always Love You” became synonymous with the film and won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year.

The singles “I Have Nothing” and “Run to You” from the same soundtrack also received Academy Award nominations for Best Original Song.

Dolly Parton’s heartfelt composition found new life through Whitney Houston’s powerful vocals, bridging genres and leaving an indelible mark on music history. The collaboration between these two remarkable artists remains a testament to the enduring power of what happens when you marry a great melody with passionate lyrics. The song is low key and simple.


If I should stay
I would only be in your way
So I’ll go, but I know
I’ll think of you each step of the way

And I will always love you
I will always love you

Bittersweet memories
That’s all I’m taking with me
Goodbye, please don’t cry
We both know that I’m not what you need

But I will always love you
I will always love you

I hope life treats you kind
And I hope that you have all
That you ever dreamed of
And I wish you joy and happiness
But above all of this, I wish you love

And I will always love you
I will always love you
I will always love you.