On Air Now
The Smooth Late Show with Danny Pietroni 10pm - 1am
30 November 2020, 15:18 | Updated: 30 November 2020, 15:29
Dolly Parton on Elvis recording 'I Will Always Love You'
The country star says she was once due to record 'I Will Always Love You' with Elvis Presley before the pair had an unexpected clash over the song's publishing rights.
The song was released by Dolly in 1974, 18 years before it become a world-famous hot sang by Whitney Houston for The Bodyguard.
Speaking to The Big Issue for it's Letter To My Younger Self feature, she explained that she once turned down The King and has regretted it ever since.
“I’d been invited down to the studio to meet Elvis and be there when he sang my song. That was the most exciting thing that had ever happened to me. Who doesn’t love Elvis?
“But then Colonel (Tom Parker, Presley’s legendary manager) called me the afternoon before the session and said ‘You do know we have to have at least half the publishing on any song that Elvis records?’
“And I said ‘No, I did not know that’. He said ‘Well, it’s just a rule’. So I said ‘Well, it’s not my rule’.”
Parton added: “And I cried all night long, ’cause I was so disappointed. It wasn’t Elvis, I loved Elvis. And I’m sure he was as disappointed as I was because he had it all worked up and ready to go. I know he loved the song.”
However, it turned out that Elvis never forgot about the song, and speaking about Presley’s wife of six years, Parton said: “Priscilla told me later that he sang that song to her when they were coming down the steps of the courthouse after they divorced. That really touched me and I thought ‘Oh well, I can only imagine’. But it wasn’t his fault.”
Dolly went on to say that if she could have a "last conversation" with anyone in history, it would be Elvis.
She explained: “I’d probably talk about 'I Will Always Love You' and say ‘Hey, I bet you were as disappointed as I was about all that and I still dream about you singing that song’.
Lisa Marie Presley on duet with Elvis: “I felt very connected to him”
“Matter of fact, I even wrote a song called 'I Dreamed About Elvis Last Night' and I had an Elvis soundalike sing it with me and we actually sing ‘I will always love you’ in it.
“And one day, I’m going to put that track out. So I think that I’d talk to Elvis, and just clear that up with him.”
Earlier this month Dolly Parton hit the headlines and received widespread praise after it was discovered she had part-funded a COVID-19 vaccine.
The star has donated $1 million into research at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center which resulted in the Moderna vaccine.
Dolly Parton gives a shout out to frontline workers during COVID-19 pandemic