5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘I Will Always Love You’
You probably already knew that Whitney Houston's recording of "I Will Always Love You" is one of the biggest singles of the last 25 years, probably the most recognizable song of her career, the one that defined her legacy. It was the ballad of homage to Houston at Sunday night's Grammys. Here is a list of five things you may not have known about the song.
Dolly Parton wrote and first recorded it, almost 20 years before Whitney spent a then-record 14 weeks at the top of the singles chart in 1992-93. When Dolly wrote it in 1973, it was as a farewell to her mentor, producer, and longtime duet partner, Porter Wagoner, with whom she never had a romantic relationship.
Did you know that Kevin Costner is the one who found the song for Houston? Kevin Costner effectively usurped the role of music supervisor on "The Bodyguard," forcing it into the movie when another intended song didn't work out. The big finale of "The Bodyguard" was supposed to be a cover of "What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted." But when Costner found out that was being used in "Fried Green Tomatoes," he had to go back to the musical drawing board. David Foster disagreed, Costner insisted, and Foster said he was never so glad to be proven wrong.
Houston recorded two different versions of the song. One for the movie, one for the soundtrack album. Not everyone realizes that separate renditions of the tune were sung by Houston on film and on CD. Some Houston fans continue to insist the actual movie version, which was never released on CD, is superior. "The Bodyguard" wasn't the first time the song had been a smash movie theme. Six years after she'd first had a country hit with the song in '74, Parton re-recorded it to add some seriousness to the otherwise levity-filled score of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, the 1982 movie musical she starred in with Burt Reynolds.
At first, according to Costner, the reaction was less than unanimously enthusiastic when he told execs at Arista Records what the movie's big closing ballad would be. "When I said to Whitney, 'You're gonna sing "I Will Always Love You,"' the ground shook," Costner said. "Clive Davis and those guys were going, 'What?!'
It was Linda Ronstadt's cover version that was really responsible for Whitney Houston's cover. Ronstadt was the first major artist to cover the song, in 1975, bringing it to rock audiences a year after Parton had a hit with it. Some music fans still consider Ronstadt's version the loveliest. Costner certainly had a fondness for it. It was Linda's recording he knew and was a fan of, and her version that he took to Houston and Foster. The next time you watch "The Bodyguard" listen close, there was yet another version of the that was even also released as a single... by a punk-rock singer! The song is first heard in the film when Costner and Houston enter a bar.