Dolly Parton‘s iconic song ‘I Will Always Love You,’ was almost covered by the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. The Country star wrote and recorded the famous song in 1973 as an emotional tribute to her longtime musical partner Porter Wagoner, making it one of her most successful songs, and earning the title of the best-selling single by a woman in music history.
The hit song gained popularity and soon became a chart-topper, instantly recognized by Elvis himself, and expressing his desire to record his own version of the track. Dolly was invited to join Elvis and his manager Colonel Tom Parker in the studio, however it was his manager who called first and said, “now you know Elvis don’t record anything unless we get half the publishing.”
Parton felt a strong sense of financial responsibility and turned down the proposal after Presley and Parker insisted on half the publishing profits, describing it as one of the hardest decisions she ever had to take, specially because she was delighted by the idea of Elvis covering one of her songs, but it was the future of the publishing rights that forced her to make the decision.
The singer of ‘Jolene’ also revealed that some of her closest friends told her she was crazy, referring to the status and success of Elvis, and that if it had been a new song she might have taken it into consideration, but it was her most important copyright at the time, adding it was her first “really hard business decision.”
However it was in 1992 that her decision paid off, when Whitney Houston recorded the most famous rendition of “I Will Always Love You,” giving the song massive recognition and attaining commercial success, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.