Dolly Parton Was Deeply Moved When Hearing Her Song Played at Whitney Houston’s Funeral
It is a very long distance from country classic star Porter Wagoner's dressing room to the funeral of pop superstar Whitney Houston, but Dolly Parton's song writing ability connected the two.
When Dolly signed on with the Porter Wagoner TV show in 1967 as the "girl singer," she promised to stay five years. After seven years she had decided it was time to leave, even over Porter's objections. She was the only one of the show's female members that Porter ever sang a duet with and was a driving force in the show's popularity.
Finally Dolly wrote the song, "I Will Always Love You" to convince Porter it was time to break up the act. When she sang the tune alone with Porter in his dressing room he was brought to tears and then asked Dolly if he could produce the song. It was a huge #1 country hit in 1974, and Dolly assumed that was the end of the song.
Then came the 1992 mega hit movie, "The Bodyguard" which starred Whitney Houston and featured her singing the song to her co-star Kevin Costner. That performance brought Dolly's tune back to life and it became a world-wide smash. Some tabloids reported at the time that a feud erupted between Dolly and Whitney because Dolly had promised not to perform the song as long as Whitney's version was on the charts. In reality, Dolly was grateful for the rebirth of her song and all the royalties it generated for her bank account.
Skip ahead 20 more years to Whitney Houston's drowning death in her bathtub. The funeral was a world wide TV event, and Dolly watched Ms. Houston's ceremony because of the connection that it had with the "I Will Always Love You" song. Dolly didn't know the TV producers were going to use the song at the funeral, and when it was played she was in shock . Later in an interview with the ABC TV show Nightline, Dolly said, "It just shattered me to hear that song played under those conditions; I thought my heart was gonna stop. It just pierced me like a knife. I can’t explain that feeling, to think that that was so final for her, and that that was my words and my feeling - I would forever be so connected to her.”