Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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I Will Always Love You

Written and originally recorded by Dolly Parton (C&W #1 1973 |C&W #1 1982).
Also recorded by Linda Ronstadt (1975).
Other hit version by Whitney Houston (US #1/MOR #1/R&B #1/UK #1/AUS #1 1992).

From the wiki: “During an interview, Parton’s manager Danny Nozel said that ‘one thing we found out from American Idol is that most people don’t know that Dolly Parton wrote [the track]’.

“Parton wrote the song, which was recorded on June 13, 1973, for her one-time partner and mentor Porter Wagoner, from whom she was professionally splitting at the time. ‘I Will Always Love You’ received positive comments from critics and attained commercial success, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart two times. Parton later re-recorded the song in 1982, when it was included on the soundtrack of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

“Around the time the song reached number one on the country charts, Elvis Presley indicated that he wanted to cover the song. Parton was interested until Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker, told her that it was standard procedure for the songwriter to sign over half of the publishing rights to any song Elvis recorded. Parton refused, and that decision is credited with helping to make her many millions of dollars in royalties from the song over the years.

“Houston was originally to record Jimmy Ruffin’s ‘What Becomes of the Brokenhearted’ as the lead single from The Bodyguard. However, when it was discovered the song was to be used for Fried Green Tomatoes, Houston requested a different song and her co-star Kevin Costner brought her Linda Ronstadt’s 1975 version of ‘I Will Always Love You’ from her 1975 album Prisoner in Disguise. Houston and producer David Foster re-arranged the song as an R&B, soul and smooth jazz ballad.

“Houston’s recording spent 14 weeks at the top of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, which at the time was a record. The song was number one on the Hot 100, Adult Contemporary, and R&B chart simultaneously for a record-equaling five weeks; only Ray Charles’ ‘I Can’t Stop Loving You’ in 1962 achieved the same feat on the same charts. Houston’s single made for a massive international success, peaking at #1 of the singles charts in almost all countries in which it was released, including the UK, Canada, Australia, Italy, Sweden and Spain. Houston’s 10-week reign at #1 in the U.K. set the record for the longest run at the top by a solo female artist in the history of the British singles chart.

“With that accomplishment, Parton became the first artist ever to earn a #1 record twice with the same song as a singer, and three times as a writer.”

Linda Ronstadt, “I Will Always Love You” (1975):

Dolly Parton, “I Will Always Love You” from Best Little Whorehouse in Texas re-recording (1982):

Whitney Houston, “I Will Always Love You” (1992):

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