Why A Young Dolly Parton Stood Up To Elvis Presley
Dolly Parton wrote the hit "I Will Always Love You" and Elvis wanted to cover it. What happened next soldified Dolly as a genius businesswoman
Artists across the spectrum have covered Dolly Parton’s songs. From Whitney Houston to Shania Twain, dozens of famous musicians have sung her songs. But don’t think Dolly lets just anyone sing them. She is a shrewd businesswoman who has amassed a fortune through touring, publishing, and an amusement park.
Talking to W magazine, Dolly reveals why the song “I Will Always Love You” almost became an Elvis hit, but Dolly knew what she had and wasn’t going to give it away for nothing:
When Elvis Presley wanted to record “I Will Always Love You,” his manager asked for half of Parton’s publishing rights for the song. “I said, ‘I’m sorry, but I can’t give you the publishing.’ I wanted to hear Elvis sing it, and it broke my heart—I cried all night.”
Elvis still sang the song though, but in a much more private setting:
“Priscilla, Elvis’s wife, told me that when she and Elvis divorced, Elvis sang my song to her. That touched me so deeply. And they also played the song at Whitney Houston’s funeral. After that, I thought, I bet they’ll play the same song when I go.”
Here’s Dolly sharing the story:
3. When Dolly Parton was just 28, Elvis Presley told her he wanted to record a cover of “I will always love you.” The day before recording, Elvis’ manager called Dolly and told her she would have to give up 50% of the publishing if she wanted Elvis to record.
She said NO. pic.twitter.com/RrLDUvkCca
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) May 11, 2019
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Good for Dolly. In an era when so many women were pushed around in the music industry, Dolly knew her worth and stuck to her convictions and her pocketbook.
Can you imagine being a 28-year-old young lady and saying no to Elvis? Heck, I don’t think I could say no to Elvis – now! Like current Elvis, who is currently in Argentina hiding from the mafia.
Dolly’s estimated worth is $350 million making her one of the most successful musicians of all time. It is decisions like the one above that led her down this path of financial success.
However, she is generous with her gifts. She gives millions to charities every year and even helped fund the research to get us the COVID vaccine. Thanks, Dolly!
When I donated the money to the Covid fund I just wanted it to do good and evidently, it is! Let’s just hope we can find a cure real soon. pic.twitter.com/dQgDWexO0C
— Dolly Parton (@DollyParton) November 17, 2020
— Dolly Parton (@DollyParton) March 2, 2021
Songs Elvis Covered
Even though Elvis didn’t cover “I Will Always Love You,” The King covered plenty of classics.
Elvis covered the Beatles’ “Yesterday” and “Hey Jude.”
“Always On My Mind” was first performed by Gwen McCrae and made famous by Willie Nelson.
Here’s Willie’s version:
Paul Simon’s “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” Elvis adds a new depth to the emotion of this song:
What’s your favorite Elvis song? What about your favorite Dolly Parton? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.