Dolly Parton "cried all night" after rejecting Elvis Presley's bid to sing 'I Will Always Love You'

21 February 2022, 16:06 | Updated: 28 February 2022, 12:33

Dolly Parton "cried all night" after rejecting Elvis Presley&squot;s bid to sing &squot;I Will Always Love You&squot;
Dolly Parton "cried all night" after rejecting Elvis Presley's bid to sing 'I Will Always Love You'. Picture: Getty

By Thomas Curtis-Horsfall

We've all surely sang the epic, romantic chorus of 'I Will Always Love You' to a loved one of ours.

Dolly Parton's heartbreaking ballad was a major hit upon its original release in 1974, and has remained a favourite sing-a-long for lovers ever since.

Even Elvis Presley supposedly sang it to his ex-wife Priscilla as they both walked down the steps of the divorce courthouse hand-in-hand following their divorce.

Priscilla shared that moment with Dolly personally, which really touched her.

What deeply flattered Dolly even more so, however, was when Elvis showed his interest in covering her ode to undying love.

But as events turned out it wouldn't ever materialise, as Dolly "cried all night" after having to reject the proposition.

Dolly always wondered how Elvis' version of 'I Will Always Love You' would have sounded. (Photo by: Andrew Putler/Redferns)
Dolly always wondered how Elvis' version of 'I Will Always Love You' would have sounded. (Photo by: Andrew Putler/Redferns). Picture: Andrew Putler/Redferns

Recently talking to Living and Learning with Reba McEntire, Dolly recalled that: “I was so excited, I told everybody.

"They had called me that Elvis was recording it, and if I wanted to come to the studio. Elvis wanted to meet me and all that."

It was Presley's manager Colonel Tom Parker that approached Dolly about the potential recording, and her excitement was quickly dampened.

“'You know, we don’t record anything with Elvis unless we have the publishing, or at least half the publishing'” the Colonel told Dolly.

She remembers replying to him saying: "Well, that throws a new light on this because I can’t give you half the publishing. I’m gonna leave that to my family. I can’t do that.”

There and then, the opportunity for her song to be sung by The King Of Rock 'n' Roll was quashed, given the Colonel's infamous temperament and uncompromising nature.

Dolly stuck to her guns by refusing the terms and choosing not to miss out on possible millions in royalties, but immediately burst into tears.

"I cried all night. Oh, I just pictured Elvis, like, singing it." Dolly sighed. "And I know that Elvis loved it. And I know it wasn’t him, but it’s true. I said no.”

Dolly Parton appearing on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon. (Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Dolly Parton appearing on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon. (Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images). Picture: Getty

It a decision that defined Dolly's career, being strong and believing in her music. Though she had always wondered 'what if', and how 'I Will Always Love You' would've sounded had Elvis covered it.

She previously shared with CMT that: "I always wondered what it would sound like. I know he’d kill it. Don’t you? He would have killed it."

Her conviction in her own song would eventually pay off as we all know however, when Whitney Houston would cover Dolly's ballad for the 1992 romantic drama The Bodyguard, after Kevin Costner apparently suggested it.

Whitney's rendition of 'I Will Always Love You' became the best-selling single by a female artist and the sixth biggest single of all time, achieving over 20 million sales and spending a record-breaking 14 weeks in the US Billboard charts at No.1.

It all worked out for Dolly in the end, though she still wishes to this day that she could've met Elvis before his untimely passing in 1977.

She even once said that "there were other people I liked to hear sing better, but there was nobody that I ever related to more [than Elvis]."