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Dolly Parton didn’t let Elvis record ‘I Will Always Love You’ — here’s why

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Dolly Parton will always love Elvis Presley.

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In a recent interview with BBC Radio 1, Parton revealed she would have loved for Presley to have recorded her song, “I Will Always Love You.”

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However, his manager Colonel Tom Parker’s request made it impossible. 

She explained everything was prepared to have Presley record the song, but the night before, Parker told Parton he doesn’t allow Presley to record anything without “at least half the publishing [rights].”

“This is the most important copyright in my whole publishing company, and I can’t do that,” Parton told Parker.

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She said she was “heartbroken” the deal fell through because she really wanted to hear the rock star sing the song and knew how much he loved it.

“See, Elvis loved the song. In fact, I talked to Priscilla not very long ago. She said, ‘You know, Elvis sang that song to me when we were walking down the courthouse steps when we got divorced,’” Parton revealed.

Years later, Whitney Houston recorded a cover of the hit song as part of the soundtrack for the film “The Bodyguard.”

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Dolly Parton
In a recent interview with BBC Radio 1 Dolly Parton revealed she would have loved for Elvis Presley to have recorded her song I Will Always Love You

Parton told Kelly Clarkson on “The Kelly Clarkson Show” in December 2022 she “freaked out” when she first heard the cover on the radio and had to pull over, saying “it was the most overwhelming feeling.”

While Parton never got to hear Presley sing the song, she got the next best thing when Ronnie McDowell agreed to duet with her on her upcoming album.

“But I wrote a song, 20 some years ago, had the Jordanaires. I wrote a song called ‘I Dreamed About Elvis.’ It’s in this album,” she said of her “Rockstar” album.

“I had Ronnie McDowell, who, he actually used to work on the road with Elvis, but he sounds just like him. So, I wrote a song, and I dreamed that Elvis was singing the song ‘I Will Always Love You.’” Parton explained. 

Parton’s newest album is a rock album called “Rockstar” and will feature collaborations with Miley Cyrus, Pink, Paul McCartney and many others.

Elvis Presley
Parton explained everything was prepared to have Presley record the song but the night before Parker told Parton he doesnt allow Presley to record anything without at least half the publishing rights

The album features covers of 21 hit rock songs and nine original songs.

“I really think it’s some of the best work I’ve ever done,” Parton said on the “Today Show” in December 2022.

“I think so. Only because it’s different for me. I wanted it to be good.” 

The legendary country singer initially declined the honor of being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, explaining, “I never thought of myself as a rock star” and “I didn’t want to accept it because I didn’t think I’d earned it.”

Despite her hesitation, Parton was inducted into the Hall of Fame in November 2022 alongside Eminem, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Lionel Richie, Duran Duran, Eurythmics and Pat Benatar.

Dolly Parton
Parton said she was heartbroken the deal fell through because she really wanted to hear the rock star sing the song and knew how much he loved it
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“I thought, ‘Well, if they wanna give it to me anyhow, I’m going to accept it gracefully,’” she told host Hoda Kotb.

“And then I’m gonna go ahead and do a rock album and just make the most of it.”

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