One of the most iconic songs for Dolly Parton, “I Will Always Love You” was a hit not only for the country singer but also the late Whitney Houston. Houston’s cover of the song helped cement her as one of music’s greatest talents. But Parton recently revealed she turned down Elvis Presley when he wanted to cover the song.
“It didn’t have anything to do with Elvis. I loved Elvis,” Parton said on Reba McEntire’s podcast “Living & Learning with Reba McEntire.”
Initially, Parton had been thrilled that Presley wanted to record her single. The music icon even wanted to meet with Parton at the recording studio.
“I already had a No. 1 song, ‘I Will Always Love You.’ And that was the most important copyright I had in my publishing company,” Parton said. “And so I was so excited, I told everybody. They had called me that Elvis was recording it, and if I wanted to come to the studio. Elvis wanted to meet me and all that.”
Dolly Parton Had Issue with Elvis Presley’s Manager
Parton had an issue with Presley’s manager Colonel Tom Parker, who she described as “brilliant” in looking after Presley’s interests. Parker wanted half of the publishing rights to Parton’s song, which she refused to give up.
“The night before the session, Colonel Tom called me and said, ‘You know, we don’t record anything with Elvis unless we have the publishing, or at least half the publishing,'” Parton said. “I said, ‘Well, that throws a new light on this. Because I can’t give you half the publishing. I’m gonna leave that to my family.’”
Parton believed Presley would have sang the song perfectly, but it didn’t work out.
“I said,’I can’t do that.’ And he said, ‘Well, then we can’t do it,'” Parton continued. “And I cried all night. ‘Cause I thought, ‘Oh, I just pictured Elvis, like, singing it.’ And I know that Elvis loved it. And I know it wasn’t him, but it’s true. I said ‘no.’”
[H/T: Tase of Country]