Music

Dolly Parton says she ‘cried all night’ after turning down Elvis Presley deal


Dolly Parton had to say no to Elvis Presley when he wanted to cover I Will Always Love You (Picture: Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

Dolly Parton has confirmed saying no to Elvis Presley was as heartbreaking as one would imagine.

The Country music icon revealed she ‘cried all night long’ after turning down the legendary singer’s request to record a version of her hit track, I Will Always Love You.

Dolly originally released the hit single in 1974 before it was most famously covered by the late Whitney Houston for her 1992 film, The Bodyguard.

However, there was a moment in time when music lovers could have also been blessed with a cover by The King himself after he made a request to create his own version of the track.

Dolly, 74, explained she had turned him down over the publishing deal she was being offered for the cover.

Writing in The Big Issue’s Letter To My Younger Self, the Jolene hitmaker explained: ‘I’d been invited down to the studio to meet Elvis and be there when he sang my song. That was the most exciting thing that had ever happened to me. Who doesn’t love Elvis?

Dolly wanted Elvis to cover the song but his manager asked for a deal she couldn’t agree with (Picture: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

‘But then Colonel (Tom Parker, Presley’s manager) called me the afternoon before the session and said “You do know we have to have at least half the publishing on any song that Elvis records?”‘

She continued: ‘And I said “No, I did not know that”. He said, “Well, it’s just a rule”. So I said, “Well, it’s not my rule”.

‘And I cried all night long, ’cause I was so disappointed. It wasn’t Elvis, I loved Elvis. And I’m sure he was as disappointed as I was because he had it all worked up and ready to go. I know he loved the song.’

The 9 to 5 singer then mentioned Elvis’ ex-wife as she added: ‘Priscilla told me later that he sang that song to her when they were coming down the steps of the courthouse after they divorced. That really touched me and I thought “Oh well, I can only imagine”. But it wasn’t his fault.’

Dolly even stated she would pick Elvis as her ‘last conversation’ if she could speak to anyone from history, in order to finally clear up the dispute.

She wrote: ‘I’d probably talk about I Will Always Love You and say, “Hey, I bet you were as disappointed as I was about all that and I still dream about you singing that song”.

‘Matter of fact, I even wrote a song called I Dreamed About Elvis Last Night and I had an Elvis soundalike sing it with me and we actually sing “I will always love you” in it.’

The iconic singer promised: ‘And one day, I’m going to put that track out. So I think that I’d talk to Elvis, and just clear that up with him.’

Considering Dolly over £15million in royalties from the hit single, we’re guessing Elvis would understand why she didn’t take his manager’s deal.

Dolly Parton’s full Letter To My Younger Self is available in The Big Issue from December 2.

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