Dolly Parton stands to make a fortune following Whitney Houston’s untimely death. The country recording artist is the sole writer of one of Houston's biggest hits, “I Will Always Love You,” which will likely bring in millions of dollars from royalties due to a surge in record sales.
The late pop star’s musical catalog quickly rose back onto the charts after her death, and consequently, Parton, 66, will receive writer and publisher rates from sales, a sizable chunk of money, reports The Huffington Post.
Parton wrote “I Will Always Love You” in 1973, and while it hit #1 on country charts for her that same year, it was Houston who propelled it to legendary status. Her version in 1992, recorded for the film, “The Bodyguard,” helped the song cross over into the pop market, where it stayed atop the charts for 14 weeks.
Parton commented to CBS News Tuesday on sharing the famous song with the late singer.
“Like everybody else, I am still in shock," she said. But I know that Whitney will live forever in all the great music that she left behind. I will always have a very special piece of her in the song we shared together and had the good fortune to share with the world. Rest in peace, Whitney. Again, we will always love you."
And Parton told Billboard, "I will always be grateful and in awe of the wonderful performance she did on my song."
Parton reportedly wrote the song after her one-time business partner and frequent duet partner, singer Porter Wagoner, suggested she switch from writing story songs and begin writing love songs. She re-recorded it in 1982 for the movie soundtrack of "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas." Elvis Presley reportedly was interested in recording it, but Parton refused to sign over half of her publishing rights to him for a Presley performance of the tune.
There’s always been a debate as to who sang the song best, though no particular tension between the two artists.
In January, Parton told CNN's Anderson Cooper how she spent her proceeds from the song, saying, "When Whitney did it, I got all the money for the publishing and for the writing, and I bought a lot of cheap wigs."
Whitney Houston sings "I Will Always Love You":
Dolly Parton sings "I Will Always Love You" to Porter Wagoner:
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