Dolly Parton discusses her new festive album
Today marks the 75th birthday of country star Dolly. The singer and American icon has maintained popularity for over 50 years, and originally kick started her career on The Porter Wagoner show in 1967. During her time on the show, the pair released some records together, before Dolly decided she wanted to take on the music industry solo – but there was a problem: Wagoner didn’t want her to leave.
Recalling the song’s inception in an interview, Dolly spoke highly of working with Wagoner.
She confessed: “There was a great passion there. And I wanted to leave the show.
“I had told Porter that I would stay with the show for five years. I wanted to go out on my own.
“Well, five years passed, and I was still in the show. We were having big hit duets. It was his show, and I understood all that, but I still wanted to go.”
Dolly explained she and Wagoner were “going around and around” on her wanting to leave the show.
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Dolly explained: “So, finally, I thought: ‘How am I gonna make him understand how much I appreciate everything, but that I have to go? He won’t listen to me. He’s not listening to reason when I want to go!’
“So I went home and I thought: ‘Well, what do you do best? You write songs.’ So I sat down and I wrote this song.”
In a flash of inspiration Dolly wrote I Will Always Love You, and cemented herself as one of the best songwriters on the planet in the process.
The next day, the singer took the song to Wagoner and told him to sit down.
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She recalled: “I started singing I Will Always Love You, and he started crying.
“When I finished, he said: ‘Well, hell! If you feel that strong about it, just go on- providing I get to produce that record, because that’s the best song you ever wrote.’”
Wagoner’s instincts were right, as Dolly later released the song as a single in 1974, and it reached number one in Billboard’s Hot Country Songs.
In 1982 I Will Always Love You was re-recorded for the soundtrack of the film The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, returning it to the top of the charts for a second time.
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Dolly saw even more success with the hit in 1992 when Whitney Houston recorded her own version of the song for the hit film The Bodyguard.
The star famously had less success with I Will Always Love You when she turned down the opportunity to record the song as a duet with Elvis Presley in the 1970s.
It was revealed years later that Elvis’ manager, Colonel Tom Parker, insisted his talent received up to half of the publishing rights – despite the song being written and composed by Dolly herself.
The Nine To Five singer simply couldn’t agree to the terms, and had to let a duet with the King slip through her fingers.
She later said she “cried all night” over how the business deal went – but didn’t regret the decision.
Shortly after the opportunity fell through, Elvis died, leaving Dolly devastated.
Now, to celebrate her 75th birthday, the star has announced she will be releasing the tribute song she wrote for the King.
The song in question is titled I Dreamed About Elvis Last Night, and has only ever been performed by Dolly live, and never released commercially.
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