Dolly Parton adored Whitney Houston’s version of her song “I Will Always Love You” from the very first time she heard it.
“My heart just started to beat so fast and then when she got into ‘I Will Always Love You,’ when that opened up, and I realized that was my song, it was the most overwhelming thing,” Parton told Oprah Winfrey in a new episode of The Oprah Conversation on Apple TV+.
The country music legend explained that, at the time, she just happened to hear it on the radio as she was driving from her office in downtown Nashville to her home in Brentwood, Tenn.
“I was shot so full of adrenaline and energy, I had to pull off, because I was afraid that I would wreck, so I pulled over quick as I could to listen to that whole song,” Parton told Winfrey. “I could not believe how she did that. I mean, how beautiful it was that my little song had turned into that, so that was a major, major thing.”
Parton crafted the ballad back in 1973, as a goodbye letter to her mentor and duet partner, Porter Wagoner. The two regularly performed together on his TV show in the ‘60s and ‘70s, but Parton eventually decided to go solo. She took the song to the top of the country music chart in 1974 and then, after it was featured in her movie The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, again in 1982.