LYRIC OF THE WEEK: Dolly Parton, “I Will Always Love You”

There are few songs in the modern era with the resiliency of “I Will Always Love You.” It was an immediate smash for the songwriter Dolly Parton, hitting #1 on the country charts in 1974. Parton then re-recorded the song for the soundtrack of her 1982 film The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas and it went to #1 again. And then Whitney Houston took a stab at it in 1992 for The Bodyguard and that worked out pretty well: 14 weeks on top of the pop charts. There have been other successful cover versions along the way, notably Linda Ronstadt’s tender take in 1975. And one wonders what might have been had Elvis Presley gotten his hands on the song like he wanted, only to be rebuffed by Parton when Parker demanded that Presley receive a hefty chunk of the publishing rights. After Houston’s iconic take, it’s likely that other major artists have stayed away from the song and will continue to do so lest they be compared unfavorably to that performance. And debating about which performance of the song is the finest, well, that’s what message boards and comment sections are for. What shouldn’t be lost in that debate…

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