Today - Season 68

Dolly Parton says Whitney Houston would have outsung her if they performed ‘I Will Always Love you’ together

The song will go down in history

Many people are still surprised to learn that Whitney Houston was not the original singer and songwriter of the hit song “I Will Always Love you.” Although it was made famous by the late singer who covered the song in “The Bodyguard” in 1992, it was originally written and performed in 1973 by Dolly Parton. According to Forbes, Parton made $10 million in royalties from Houston’s cover. The singer has a very different voice and although some people love Parton’s original song, many will say that Houston is the best vocally. One of those people is Parton herself. In an interview with Watch Watch Happens Live with Andy Cohan, the singer admitted Houston would have “outsung her.”

During the interview, Parton was asked if there were ever any plans for her to perform the song with Houston and she said she was never asked to. “I wish that could have happened,” she said adding, “I would‘ve loved that, but I don’t think I could come up to snuff with her though. She would’ve outsung me on that one for sure.”

Although Parton is talented, everyone remembers the first time Houston’s version of the song sent chills down their spine- it even had the same effect on her. She revealed that the first time she heard the cover in 1992 she almost crashed her car and had to pull over. Parton said in a 2017 interview with Harry Connick, Jr. “I was driving home from my office in downtown Nashville, and all of a sudden, I heard on the radio, ‘If I…’ acapella.” She had sent the song to producers but hadn’t received final confirmation if Houston would sing it or another song, “When she started in on the ‘I will always love you,’ I have to honestly say I thought my heart was going to burst,” said Parton. “That was one of the most overwhelming feelings I’ve ever had in my life. About anything.”

While many consider the song to be about exes, Parton actually wrote the song as a way to say goodbye to her then-partner, Porter Wagoner. The singer and host invited her to perform regularly on his country music show beginning in 1967. She described their relationship as love/hate and eventually she felt it was her time to leave so she penned “I Will Always Love You,” and asked Wagoner to sit down and listen to it. “I started singing it and he started crying,” she remembered later. “He said, ‘Okay, you can go, but I’m going to produce that damn song.’”