Why Dolly Parton Would Not Let
Elvis Record 'I Will Always Love You'
On Late Night With Seth Myers, Dolly Parton was promoting her Netflix specials where she brings 8 of her songs to life, each in a TV-movie setting. Dolly discusses the origin of 'Joleen' who was, in real life, a sexy bank teller her husband was attracted to. This inspired Dolly to write one of the most famous country music tunes of all time. Dolly Parton even stops this interview with Seth Myers to sing a few bars of 'Jolene.'
Turns out Dolly wrote 'Jolene ' and 'I Will Always Love You' on the same day, or close to it. "I didn't realize that myself," Dolly says. "We were going through all my archives and trying to get everything on hard drives so I wouldn't lose all those old tapes I had. And on the same tape I had 'Jolene ' and 'I Will Always Love You'. That was a major night I guess."
When it came to 'I Will Always Love You,' one of the most frequently recorded songs of the last 40 years, earning Dolly millions of dollars, she shared why she wouldn't let The King, Elvis Presley, record that very personal tune. "Well I had to," she says. "I still grieve over that but it wasn't Elvis, he loved it, but Colonel Tom said I have to give away half the publishing because Elvis didn't record anything unless he had half the publishing." That's where the money is in the music industry!
"I said I couldn't do it, I was leaving that for my family so I just didn't do it and he didn't do it." She certainly has no regrets about that decision, especially after Whitney Houston sold 20 million copies of that single.