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"I Will Always Love You"
Single by Dolly Parton
from the album Jolene
B-side "When Someone Wants to Leave" (1974 version)
Released April 4, 1974 (U.S.)
July 23, 1982 (re-recording)
1995 (re-recording w/ Vince Gill)
Format 45 rpm single
Recorded RCA Studio "B", Nashville; June 17, 1973 (original)
Genre Country, Soft rock
Length 2:55
Label RCA
Writer(s) Dolly Parton
Producer Bob Ferguson
Dolly Parton singles chronology
"I Will Always Love You"
"Love Is Like a Butterfly"

"I Will Always Love You" is a song written by American singer-songwriter Dolly Parton in 1973, who first released the song as a single in 1974. American singer Whitney Houston's (1992) version of the song became one of the best-selling singles of all time.


Dolly Parton version

Dolly Parton wrote the song in 1973 and it was released a year later, having been produced by Bob Ferguson. She has told numerous interviewers over the years that she wrote it for her one-time partner and mentor Porter Wagoner, with whom she was having a business splitting at the time. Recorded on June 17, 1973 in RCA's Studio "B" in Nashville, the song was included on Parton's album Jolene, and was released as a follow-up single, after the country chart-topping success of the title track, in April 1974. The single reached number 1 on the Billboard' Hot Country Songs a month later, but had just modest success on the pop charts. The lyrics express a bittersweet and poignant ode to an ex-lover, and are delivered with Parton's distinctive twang.

Parton re-recorded the song in 1982 to include it on the soundtrack of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, the film version of the Broadway musical of the same name. Her 1982 version also reached number 1 on the U.S. Hot Country Songs, marking the first time the same song reached number 1 on the country charts twice by the same artist. The 1982 version also saw limited crossover pop success, reaching number 53 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 17 on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks.

Parton had success with the song again in 1995 in a duet with Vince Gill. This time the song peaked at number 15 in December of that year, making it the third time the song was a hit for Parton, albeit in duet form this time. In 2003, CMT ranked it number 16 on their 100 Greatest Songs in Country Music. A year later, CMT ranked it number 1 on their 100 Greatest Country Love Songs.

The most recent release of the song appears on Parton's 2008 album Backwoods Barbie, which features a live version - an exclusive iTunes bonus track.


Chart (1974) Peak
Canadian RPM Country Tracks[1] 4
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs[2] 1
Chart (1982) Peak
Canadian RPM Top Singles[3] 8
Canadian RPM Country Tracks[1] 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[4] 53
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs[2] 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks[5] 17
Chart (1995) Peak
Canadian RPM Country Tracks[1] 22
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs[2] 15
Preceded by
"Pure Love"
by Ronnie Milsap
Billboard Hot Country Singles
number-one single

June 8, 1974
Succeeded by
"I Don't See Me in Your Eyes Anymore"
by Charlie Rich
Preceded by
"Yesterday's Wine"
by Merle Haggard and George Jones
Billboard Hot Country Singles
number-one single

October 16, 1982
Succeeded by
"He Got You"
by Ronnie Milsap
Preceded by
"What's Forever For"
by Michael Martin Murphey
RPM Country Tracks
number-one single

October 23-October 30, 1982
Succeeded by
"Let It Be Me"
by Willie Nelson

Whitney Houston version

"I Will Always Love You"
Single by Whitney Houston
from the album The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album
Released November 3, 1992
Format CD single, cassette single, 7" single, 12" single
Recorded 1991-1992
Genre R&B, soul, ballad
Length 4:32
Label Arista
Writer(s) Dolly Parton
Producer David Foster
Certification 4x platinum (Australia, U.S.)
2x platinum (UK)
Platinum (Germany, Netherlands, Sweden)
Gold (Austria, France)
Whitney Houston singles chronology
"We Didn't Know"
"I Will Always Love You"
"I'm Every Woman"

In 1992, singer Whitney Houston recorded the song for the soundtrack to The Bodyguard, her film debut. Houston was originally to record Jimmy Ruffin's "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" as the lead single from The Bodyguard. However, when it was discovered the song was to be used for Fried Green Tomatoes, Houston requested a different song and her co-star Kevin Costner brought her Linda Ronstadt's 1975 version of "I Will Always Love You" from her album Prisoner in Disguise. Houston and producer David Foster re-arranged the song as a soul ballad. Her record company did not feel a song with an a cappella introduction would be as successful; however, Houston and Costner insisted to maintain an a cappella intro. Whitney Houston's recording is not the only version of the song featured in the movie. In a scene where she dances with Kevin Costner, a version by John Doe can be heard playing on a jukebox.

Houston's version was a massive worldwide success, selling over 15 million copies worldwide.[6] It became a regular on countdown lists: appearing at number 8 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the Past 25 Years; number 4 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 90s[7] and number 1 on VH1's 100 Greatest Love Songs. The song also lists at number 68 on Billboard's Greatest Songs of all time.[8]

Music video

The single's music video, credited to Alan Smithee, begins with the performance of the song Houston gives at the end of The Bodyguard. The video then cuts to Houston in a dark blue suit sitting in an empty theater with the spotlight shining on her, singing of her love. The video is intercut with scenes from The Bodyguard and gives the viewer the experience of reliving the moments with the singer.

Chart performance

The single spent fourteen weeks at the top of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, which at the time was a record. The single became Houston's longest run at number 1, beating her previous record of three weeks with 1986's, "Greatest Love of All." It is also the longest running number 1 single from a soundtrack album.

The single debuted at number 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became Houston's tenth number 1 hit a mere two weeks later. It also dominated various other Billboard charts, spending fourteen weeks at the top of Billboard Hot 100 Single Sales (the most for a solo female artist & later tied by Mariah Carey's We Belong Together), and eleven weeks at number 1 on its Hot 100 Airplay. The song also stayed at number 1 for five weeks on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks and for eleven weeks on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs becoming the longest running number 1 on the R&B charts at the time, and remained in the top 40 for twenty-four weeks. It became Arista Records' biggest hit. The song was number 1 on the Hot 100, Adult Contemporary, and R&B chart simulateously for a record five weeks.[9]

Houston's single sold approximately 400,000 copies in its second week of release, making it the best-selling song in a single week (taking the record from Bryan Adams' "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You"). It broke its own record in the following three weeks, peaking at 632,000 copies in the week ending December 19, 1992 (the week it broke its own record for most copies sold in a single week for any song). It was certified 4xPlatinum in the U.S. for shipments of over 4 million copies.[10] and another six million worldwide, making it the third best-selling single in the world.[citation needed] It remains the biggest selling single by a female artist and the biggest selling non-charity single.[citation needed]

Houston's single became a massive international success, hitting number 1 in the United Kingdom for ten weeks, and Australia for ten weeks. It also hit pole position in Austria for 5 weeks[11], Belgium, Ireland, Sweden for 3 weeks[12], Norway for 9 weeks[13], Switzerland for 8 weeks[14], Germany for 6 weeks[15], France for 8 weeks[16], Denmark, Netherlands for 6 weeks[17], and New Zealand for 11 weeks[18]. It is the only single to have ever topped both the U.S. and Australian charts for at least ten weeks.[citation needed]

The song stayed at number 1 in the United States throughout January and February in 1993, making it the first time Billboard didn't rank a new number one single until March of the new year. Houston's "I Will Always Love You" was also the year-end single of 1993 in the U.S.[19] Similarly, in the UK, Houston's version was ranked the number 1 single of 1992, and then made the countdown again in 1993 where it was ranked number 9, marking the first time any artist or group had the same single ranked in the top 10 of the year-end review two years in a row.[citation needed] Houston's soundtrack album for The Bodyguard was number 1 for twenty weeks, and it became the best-selling soundtrack of all time. The album has been certified diamond in the U.S. for sales of over 17 million[10], and has sold 42 million copies total worldwide to date.[20]


Formats and track listings

CD single

  1. "I Will Always Love You" – 4:31
  2. "Jesus Loves Me" – 5:11

CD maxi-single

  1. "I Will Always Love You" – 4:31
  2. "Jesus Loves Me" – 5:11
  3. "Do You Hear What I Hear?" - 3:31
CD maxi - 1999 remixes
  • "I Will Always Love You" (Hex Hector Radio Edit) - 4:50
  • "I Will Always Love You" (Hex Hector 12" Club Mix) - 9:51


Country Certification Date Sales certified
Austria[21] Gold March 1, 1993 15,000
France[22] Gold 1993 250,000
Germany[23] Platinum 1993 300,000
Netherlands[24] Platinum 1992 60,000
Sweden[25] Platinum March 26, 1993 20,000
UK[26] 2× Platinum January 1, 1993 1,450,000
U.S.[27] 4× Platinum [28] January 12, 1993 4,600,000[29]


Chart (1992) Peak
Australian Singles Chart[30] 1
Austrian Singles Chart[31] 1
Belgian Singles Chart[32] 1
Canadian Singles Chart[33] 1
Dutch Singles Chart[34] 1
European Singles Chart[35] 1
French Singles Chart[36] 1
German Singles Chart[37] 1
Irish Singles Chart[38] 1
Italian Singles Chart[39] 1
Japanese Singles Chart[40] 1
New Zealand Singles Chart[41] 1
Norwegian Singles Chart[42] 1
Swedish Singles Chart[43] 1
Swiss Singles Chart[44] 1
UK Singles Chart[45] 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[4] 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks[5] 1
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs[46] 1
Preceded by
"How Do You Talk to an Angel" by The Heights
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
November 28, 1992- February 27, 1993
Succeeded by
"A Whole New World" by Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle
Preceded by
"Would I Lie To You?" by Charles and Eddie
UK Singles Chart number one single
November 29, 1992 - February 7, 1993
Succeeded by
"No Limit" by 2 Unlimited
Preceded by
"If I Ever Fall In Love" by Shai
Billboard's Hot R&B Songs number one single
December 5, 1992
Succeeded by
"Hip Hop Hooray" by Naughty By Nature
Preceded by
"End of the Road" by Boyz II Men
Australian ARIA number one single
December 20, 1992 - February 21, 1993 (10 weeks)
Succeeded by
"You Don't Treat Me no Good" by Sonia Dada
Preceded by
"Would I Lie to You" by Charles & Eddie
Ö3 Austria Top 40 number one single
January 24, 1993 - February 7, 1993 (3 weeks)
February 21, 1993 - February 28, 1993 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Would I Lie to You" by Charles & Eddie
No Limit by 2 Unlimited
Preceded by
"Dur dur d'être bébé!" by Jordy
French SNEP number-one single
January 30, 1993 - March 20, 1993 (8 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Alison" by Jordy
Preceded by
"(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" by
Bryan Adams
Top selling single of the year (UK)
Succeeded by
"I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)" by Meat Loaf
Preceded by
"End of the Road" by Boyz II Men
Billboard Hot 100 Number one single of the year
Succeeded by
"The Sign" by Ace of Base


After Whitney Houston's cover of the song became a hit, the tabloid press began reporting on a 'feud' between the two performers, stemming from Parton's allegedly reneging on an agreement that she would not perform the song for a number of months while Houston's version was on the charts, so as not to compete with the more recent cover. However, both Houston and Parton have dispelled any rumors, speaking glowingly of one another in interviews,[47][48] Houston praising Parton for writing a beautiful song, and Parton thanking Houston for bringing her song to a wider audience, and in the process making her a great deal of money in royalties. Dolly Parton also gave a live interview, confirming this.


  1. ^ a b c Canadian RPM Country Tracks
  2. ^ a b c Hot Country Songs
  3. ^ Canadian RPM Top Singles
  4. ^ a b Billboard Hot 100
  5. ^ a b Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ "R. Kelly's "Bump N' Grind" tops Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart next week." Cincinnati Post. May 6, 1994. Page 6c.
  10. ^ a b
  11. ^ ""I Will Always Love You" on Austrian Singels Chart". Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  12. ^ ""I Will Always Love You" on Swedish Singles Chart". Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  13. ^ ""I Will Always Love You" on Norwegian Singles Chart". Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  14. ^ ""I Will Always Love You" on Swiss Singles Chart". Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  15. ^ ""I Will Always Love You" on German Singles Chart". Media Control. Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  16. ^ ""I Will Always Love You" on French Singles Chart". Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  17. ^ ""I Will Always Love You" on Dutch Singles Chart". Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  18. ^ ""I Will Always Love You" on New Zealand's Singles Chart". Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  19. ^
  20. ^,,282259,00.html
  21. ^ Austrian certifications (Retrieved December 24, 2008)
  22. ^ French certifications (Retrieved December 24, 2008)
  23. ^ German certifications (Retrieved December 24, 2008)
  24. ^ Dutch certifications (Retrieved December 24, 2008)
  25. ^ Swedish certifications (Retrieved December 24, 2008)
  26. ^ UK certifications (Retrieved September 3, 2008)
  27. ^ U.S. certifications (Retrieved December 24, 2008)
  28. ^ "RIAA". Certification Date 12 Jan 1993
  29. ^ "'Candle' May Set Record (p82)". Billboard. September 20, 1997. Retrieved 2009-12-20. 
  30. ^ Australian Singles Chart
  31. ^ Austrian Singles Chart
  32. ^ Belgian Singles Chart
  33. ^ Canadian Singles Chart
  34. ^ Dutch Singles Chart
  35. ^ European Singles Chart
  36. ^ French Singles Chart
  37. ^ German Singles Chart
  38. ^ Irish Singles Chart
  39. ^ Italian Singles Chart
  40. ^ Japanese Singles Chart
  41. ^ New Zealand Singles Chart
  42. ^ Norwegian Singles Chart
  43. ^ Swedish Singles Chart
  44. ^ Swiss Singles Chart
  45. ^ UK Singles Chart
  46. ^ Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs
  47. ^
  48. ^
  • Ammons, Kevin; Bacon, Nancy 1996. Whitney Houston: Good Girl, Bad Girl. Carol Publishing, New York. ISBN 1-55972-379-3

External links

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