Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You” was the theme song for “The Bodyguard, ” released in 1992. Parton’s admission comes days after the film turned 30. When asked about the first time she heard the song, Parton shared that the track wasn’t originally going to be used for the movie.
The country singer said, “There’s a new story about that when they were doing ‘The Bodyguard,’ they had chosen another song as the theme song, and someone came out with that very song right when they were about to put the movie out. They were drastic, I mean they were really trying to find a great song.”
The track in question that was supposed to be used for “The Bodyguard’s” theme song was “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted” by Jimmy Ruffin. The single, released in 1967, has been covered numerous times, but near the film’s theatrical debut in 1992 Paul Young’s version was released.
After the mishap, the idea of using her song came from Houston’s co-star in “The Bodyguard,” Kevin Costner, Parton shared.
The 76-year-old said, “Kevin Costner and his secretary, said ‘Do you remember Dolly Parton’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ it’s a country song but it’s a beautiful song and so they called me to see if they could use it and I said yes. I didn’t hear anything else about it. I didn’t know if they had it. I didn’t know if they had done it.”
Further in the conversation, Parton recalled the first time she heard Houston’s rendition of “I Will Always Love You” after she gave the studio permission to use the song. Parton said the event occurred when she was driving home from her office.
“I was driving my car from downtown where my office was…back to my house over in Brentwood and I was just driving along and I had the radio on and I just heard this ‘If I should stay…’ And I go ‘what is that?'”
She added, “That’s the first time… I heard it on the radio and when it went into ‘and I’ it’s like I just freaked out I had to pull over to the side because I honestly thought I was going to wreck. It was the most overwhelming feeling and you know how great that was. It was great and that’s the story of that.”
Houston’s cover of “I Will Always Love You” catapulted the legendary singer’s career, sold 20 million copies, and made Parton $10 million in royalties. In 2021, Parton revealed that she used the royalty money on property in a Black community in Tennessee.
She said during an interview with “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen,” “I bought my big office complex down in Nashville. I bought a property down in what was the Black area of town, and it was mostly just Black families and people that lived around there. And it was off the beaten path from 16th Avenue. And I thought, ‘Well, I am going to buy this place, the whole strip mall. ‘So I thought, well, this is a wonderful place to be,’ considering it was Whitney.”
Parton continued, “So I just thought this was great. I’m just gonna be down here with her people, who are my people as well. And so, I just love the fact that I spent that money on a complex. And I think, ‘This is the house that Whitney built.'”