Dolly Parton recalls the emotional moment she heard Whitney Houston sing 'I Will Always Love You'

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Dolly Parton is one of Whitney Houston's biggest fans.

The country music icon, 74, told Oprah Winfrey that she actually had to pull over in her car when she first heard the late singer's rendition of "I Will Always Love You."

Parton said she was driving from her office in downtown Nashville to her home in Brentwood, Tenn, when it came on the radio. 

“I was shot so full of adrenaline and energy, I had to pull off, because I was afraid that I would wreck, so I pulled over quick as I could to listen to that whole song,” Parton said to Winfrey in a new episode of The Oprah Conversation on Apple TV+. “I could not believe how she did that. I mean, how beautiful it was that my little song had turned into that, so that was a major, major thing.”

The "Jolene" singer said her heart "started to beat so fast and then when she got into ‘I Will Always Love You,’ when that opened up, and I realized that was my song, it was the most overwhelming thing."

Parton wrote the song back in 1973 as a goodbye anthem to her mentor and dueting partner Porter Wagoner. When she went solo, the song topped the country charts in 1974.

Parton also used it in her 1982 movie "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas."

But it was Kevin Costner, who was producing and starring in the 1992 romance-drama with Houston called "The Bodyguard," who called Parton up to ask if he could use her song. 


“So David Foster was going to produce it and so I called David up,” Parton explained. “I said, ‘Now, David, make sure that they do the last verse, because I did it as a recitation and a lot of people say, ‘I can’t recite. I can’t do recitation,’ so they leave [it] out. Linda Ronstadt had recorded it and left that whole verse out. I said, ‘Make sure that if you record this song, that you put that verse in.”

The song became a hit again after the movie was released, spending 14 weeks at the top of the charts. It won two Grammys, two American Music Awards and a Billboard Music Award.


“When Whitney’s [version] came out, I made enough money to buy Graceland.” Parton previously told CMT in July 2006. 

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