Many people already know the story of Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” and how Elvis Presley wanted to record it and would only do so if Parton gave up the publishing rights.
Dolly re-told the story to Sounds Like Nashville, “Elvis almost recorded it. I kept hold of my publishing and I cried my eyes out ’cause Elvis didn’t get to do it. It was his manager that said he had to publish it if he did it and I wouldn’t let him have publishing.”
But in Dolly’s new Songteller book, she reveals that she learned Presley was such a big fan of the song even though he never got to record it himself. While she was working with Priscilla Presley, the late singer’s ex-wife shared with her Elvis’ love of the powerful ballad.
Dolly recalls, “We were thinking about writing a musical about her story. I think that may still be in the works somewhere, but she had been interested in maybe me writing the music for it, so I had gone to meet her. In that process of us talking I said, ‘One of my greatest disappointments is that I didn’t get to hear Elvis sing ‘I Will Always Love You,’ but I couldn’t give up my publishing.’ She said, ‘Oh, he loved that song. When we divorced, when we were coming down the steps from the courthouse, he was singing ‘I Will Always Love You.””
“That made me chill all over, that was so sweet. I was so happy she told me that.”