When Aretha Franklin performed stunning ‘I Will Always Love You’ in emotional Whitney Houston tribute

18 August 2021, 10:14

Aretha Franklin gives stunning performance of ‘I Will Always Love You’ during emotional Whitney Houston tribute
Aretha Franklin gives stunning performance of ‘I Will Always Love You’ during emotional Whitney Houston tribute. Picture: Getty / YouTube
Hannah Lovejoy

By Hannah Lovejoy

Aretha Franklin performed a beautiful rendition of ‘I Will Always Love You’ in 2014 as she paid tribute to her friend Whitney Houston.

The Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin covered Whitney’s most iconic song ‘I Will Always Love You’ and made it her own when she performed in New York.

Aretha introduced the track by playing the piano and shortly after she shared a sweet tribute to her friend Whitney who passed away on February 11, 2012.

This rare footage was taken during an Aretha concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City in June 2014.

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Aretha introduced ‘I Will Always Love You’ by remembering Whitney and described her as “one of the finest young singers” of all time.

“We look back and we acknowledge one of the finest young singers that ever stepped before a microphone,’ Aretha said to the crowd.

“And whenever we hear these memorable strains, we will think of and remember her.”

As Aretha sang, there was a slideshow of pictures that appeared on a big screen. The pictures showed different moments from throughout Whitney's career including with Aretha and also with Amy Winehouse.

‘I Will Always Love You’ was originally written and performed by Dolly Parton and it appeared on her 1974 album titled Jolene. Whitney covered the song in 1992 and it was used as one of the leading tracks in The Bodyguard movie.

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When Whitney’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ cover was released it spent 14 weeks at number one on the Billboard chart. The track appeared on The Bodyguard - Original Soundtrack Album and in 1994, the record won Album of the Year at the 36th Annual Grammy Awards.

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Aretha and Whitney had a close friendship that influenced Whitney’s life and sound. Whitney’s mother, Cissy Houston was a good friend of Aretha’s They had known one another for more than 50 years and Cissy even sang back up vocals for Aretha.

Aretha Franklin gives stunning performance of ‘I Will Always Love You’ during emotional Whitney Houston tribute
Aretha Franklin gives stunning performance of ‘I Will Always Love You’ during emotional Whitney Houston tribute. Picture: Getty

When Aretha passed away in 2018, Cissy shared a heartfelt and emotional statement with People. At the time of Aretha’s death, Cissy said that her “heart is broken” but said that her “soul rejoices” because she was able to see the great things Aretha did in her lifetime.

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“Aretha was my dear friend who I will deeply miss. I have known Aretha for over 50 years, both professionally as her back up singer and then as a friend” Cissy wrote.

“We have shared heartbreak, loss, as well as exaltation and great laughter and most importantly our mutual love of God.”

She added: “Although my heart is broken, my soul rejoices that I was able to watch God move through Aretha’s life. God bless you Re, I will always love you.”