Elvis Presley Sang This Famous Dolly Parton Song to Priscilla After Their Divorce

by Jeremy Spirogis
Elvis and Priscilla Presley

One of nation icon Dolly Parton’s most well-known songs, “I Will Always Love You,” has had a deeper that means for many individuals through the years. For Parton herself, the 1974 track represented her fraught relationship along with her songwriting and duet associate of a number of years, Porter Wagoner.

The No. 1 smash hit – now within the Grammy Hall of Fame – was about Parton making an attempt to free herself from Wagoner’s management. She recorded it for the Jolene album, in addition to for the soundtrack of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, her 1982 film with Burt Reynolds. Naturally, Whitney Houston later made it one in every of historical past’s largest pop hits.

But “I Will Always Love You” additionally had a particular that means for rock and roll legend Elvis Presley and his spouse, Priscilla Presley. In Parton’s new memoir, Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics (launched on Nov. 17, 2020, and written alongside Robert Okay. Oermann), Parton reveals the story behind the track – and Elvis’ shocking connection to it.

Elvis and Priscilla Presley
Elvis and Priscilla Presley | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Wagoner and Parton started to conflict whereas working collectively

After a prolonged collaborative partnership that concerned a number of duet albums and lots of songwriting classes, Parton and Wagoner started to conflict, she writes in her memoir. The now-74-year-old singer started to really feel caged in by Wagoner, who grew more and more possessive of Parton and her burgeoning profession.

In Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics, Parton writes that Wagoner didn’t need anybody else to “have anything to do with her” when it comes to the music business – and needed extra management over her profession than she ever needed to present him. She started to appreciate that she must enterprise out on her personal, as onerous as which may have been.

Over time, she explains in her new ebook, their relationship grew to become poisonous and fraught with arguments.

“He was trying to control something that’s not controllable, and that was making him miserable and me miserable,” she explains.

Dolly Parton and Porter WagonerDolly Parton and Porter Wagoner
Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner | Michael Mauney/The LIFE Images Collection through Getty Images

Parton wrote ‘I Will Always Love You’ to characterize her troubled relationship with Wagoner

Despite her candy demeanor, Parton wasn’t one to be pushed round. All of her emotions got here tumbling out in a single writing session. Thus, “I Will Always Love You” was born.

Parton writes in her memoir that the hit track “came straight from the bottom of [her] heart.” Tears fell from her eyes as she took pen to paper and defined all of her bittersweet emotions for Wagoner through the years.

When he first heard the track, even Wagoner couldn’t deny how stunning it was.

“He said, ‘That’s the best song you ever wrote. And you can go, if I can produce that song,’” writes Parton. “I said, ‘It’s a deal!’”

[embedded content material]

RELATED: Who Was Dolly Parton’s Original ‘Jolene?’

Elvis needed to report the track first

While the story behind “I Will Always Love You” was all Parton’s, she wasn’t initially going to report it. Instead, the King of Rock and Roll himself was the unique selection.

“Elvis loved the song and wanted to record it,” Parton reveals, including that that will have been a dream come true. But his supervisor, Colonel Tom Parker, demanded half of her publishing rights – and she or he knew she couldn’t give these up.

“It broke my heart, but I couldn’t give up my copyright,” Parton writes in Songteller. “I cried my eyes out, because I could just hear Elvis singing it. But sometimes you just have to stand your ground.”

Parton’s choice was particularly vital to her on the time when it got here to that track, which was about standing up for herself and breaking freed from those that tried to carry her again. If she was ever going to again down about something, it will not be about “I Will Always Love You.”

[embedded content material]

Priscilla instructed Parton the track held a fair deeper that means for her after her divorce

Parton’s well-known track additionally performed a shocking function in Elvis’ divorce proceedings along with his spouse, Priscilla.

Elvis met Priscilla when she was simply 14 years outdated and he was 24, in response to Biography. They married in 1967 and have become doting mother and father to their solely youngster, daughter Lisa Marie Presley, simply 9 months later.

But Elvis and Priscilla’s love life dwindled after their daughter’s delivery. What’s extra, the crooner typically stepped out on his spouse, each earlier than and after they tied the knot. Eventually, Priscilla had her personal fling exterior of the wedding, and she or he determined to depart her husband for good.

While Elvis by no means recorded “I Will Always Love You,” he did sing it to his soon-to-be-ex-wife as their surprisingly amicable divorce performed out in 1973.

“Priscilla told me years later that it was the song he sang to her when they were leaving the divorce courtroom,” Parton writes in her memoir. “So that touched me even more.”

While the explanations for each Parton’s selection to jot down the track and Elvis’ rendition of it might need been bittersweet at finest, it’s apparent that “I Will Always Love You” has the ability to the touch hearts in essentially the most tough and poignant moments.

Leave a Comment