Dolly Parton’s Song Was a Hit Five Times in Five Different Years
In 1973 Dolly Parton decided it was time to break up the act with Porter Wagoner. She wrote the hit tune "I Will Always Love You" as a letter of resignation and sang it to him alone in his dressing room. It brought Mr. Grand Ole Opry to tears but then he asked if Dolly would record the tune and could he produce it. He did and it was a huge number one country hit in 1974. But it was just getting started.
In 1982 Dolly starred with Burt Reynolds in the big hit movie "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas". She reworked "I Will Always Love You" for the movie soundtrack and -- surprise! -- the song once again became a #1 country hit, and the movie was the top grossing film of the year.
Ten years later the song fit perfectly in another movie, "The Bodyguard." When Whitney Houston sang Dolly's song to Kevin Costner in the movie, it may not have had the personal touch of Dolly singing to Porter Wagoner, but it did drive "The Bodyguard" soundtrack album to become the biggest selling soundtrack of all time. It sold 42 million worldwide. Whitney Houston's single version of Dolly's tune also became a number one hit worldwide.
But the song had not finished its ride. It was given a different treatment when Dolly and Vince Gill teamed up in 1995 to sing it on the Grand Ole Opry. It was on Dolly's album "Something Special," and enough DJs saw Dolly and Vince do the tune on the Opry ( it was televised on The Nashville Network) that they started playing it and drove it to number 15 in the US.
How about one more? After Whitney Houston died in 2012, her version was re released and climbed to #3 in the US.
When Porter Wagoner was dying of cancer in 2007, the Grand Ole Opry threw a party celebrating his 50th anniversary with the Opry. Dolly made a special appearance on stage at that celebration to sing the song one last time to Porter. Porter passed away six months later. WKDQ is pleased to present Porter and Dolly's special moment here: