Dolly Parton Reveals the Reason She Never Let Elvis Presley Record “I Will Always Love You”

Elvis Presley once expressed interest in covering Dolly Parton‘s 1974 hit “I Will Always Love You.” However, she ultimately denied the King the opportunity, and has since revealed the reason why. Speaking recently with AXS TV, Parton disclosed the details behind the rejection. Evidently, it came down to Presley’s manager.

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“Elvis loved the song. That was when he and Priscilla were having their problems. He had sung that to her on the day of their divorce,” she began. “During that time, it’s no fault of Elvis, he loved the song. But Tom Parker, his manager, he made some wise decisions evidently. So he knew what he was doing. Elvis was ready to record it, I told my friends and people that he was recording it. And they were in town to do the recording, they had invited me down to the session.”

She continued, “Colonel Tom Parker calls me the day before and says, ‘Now you do know that Elvis is recording your song and you do know that Elvis don’t record anything that he doesn’t publish, or at least get half of the publishing on.’”

[RELATED: Dolly Parton Responds to Beyoncé’s “Jolene” Refresh on ‘Cowboy Carter’]

Dolly Parton Shares Reasons Why Elvis Presley Never Recorded “I Will Always Love You”

Parton revealed that the admission shocked her, because she knew she wanted to retain the rights to the song. It was hers, she wrote it, and she ultimately didn’t want to lose it, not even to Elvis Presley and not even by half.

“I said, ‘I can’t do that,'” she admitted. “‘This song’s already been a hit for me, and this song is in my publishing company. And obviously this is going to be one of my most important copyrights, and I can’t give you half the publishing.’ That’s stuff I’m leaving for my family. And he said, ‘Well we can’t record the song.’”

Continuing, she revealed, “I just knew that was not right. If I didn’t have my own publishing company, had the song not already been a hit, it might have been different. But I couldn’t let someone have half of a song that had already been number one.”

Dolly Parton stood her ground with “I Will Always Love You,” and it remains one of her biggest hits to this day. It may not have been easy going against Elvis and his manager, but she stuck to her guns and retained the rights.

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