Considering that this song has topped six different charts for a combined total of 55 weeks, it could be declared the most successful chart single of all time.
On the U.S. pop charts, Elvis Presley’s double-sided single “Don’t Be Cruel”/“Hound Dog” held the record for most weeks (11) atop the Billboard Hot 100 for 36 years before Boyz II Men grabbed the pinnacle for 13 weeks with “End of the Road.” However, the Boyz didn’t hang on to the record quite as long as The King. A mere two weeks after “Road” finished its reign, the song that would dethrone it slid into the #1 spot.
Dolly Parton’s original was a #1 country song in 1974 and 1982. It was a re-recorded version for the film The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Dolly even hit the country charts with it a third time when a 1995 duet version with Vince Gill went to #15. However, it was Whitney’s version that exploded. It hit on the UK charts, Cashbox, and Billboard’s pop, R&B, and adult contemporary charts.
Whitney’s version was featured in the movie The Bodyguard. It had to illustrate Kevin Costner’s character’s background when it plays on a jukebox at a blue-collar bar and show Houston’s glamorous, superstar singer lifestyle when she sings it to him later as a tribute. BR1
Plans to record Jimmy Ruffin’s “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” were scuttled when the movie Fried Green Tomatoes got first dibs. Costner brought a 1975 Linda Ronstadt version of “Love You” to Houston, who re-arranged it as a soul ballad. WK
It goes without saying that this was 1992’s biggest pop hit, WHC but it also was the first triple-platinum-selling single by a woman BB100 and propelled The Bodyguard soundtrack to 17 million sales. It is also a hit at funerals, being the most requested record for those solemn occasions. KL
Awards for Whitney’s version:
- one of the top 100 songs of the rock era, according to the DMDB
- one of the top 1000 songs of all time
- DMDB song of the year
- one of the top 100 best-selling songs in the world
- Biggest #1 Pop Songs in U.S. Chart History
- Billboard Song of the Year
- Grammy Award for Record of the Year
- one of the RIAA’s top 365 songs of the 20th century
- VH1’s top 100 songs of all time
- top 100 adult contemporary songs of all time
- one of the top 100 songs of the 1990s
Awards for Dolly’s version:
Resources and Related Links:
- the DMDB page for “I Will Always Love You”
- Whitney Houston’s DMDB Encyclopedia entry
- Dolly Parton’s DMDB Encyclopedia entry
- BB100 Billboard (9/08). “All-Time Hot 100”.
- BR1 Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). New York, NY: Billboard Books.
- KL Jon Kutner/Spencer Leigh (2005). 1000 UK Number One Hits: The Stories Behind Every Number One Single Since 1952. London, Great Britain: Omnibus Press. Page 382.
- WHC Joel Whitburn (1999). A Century of Pop Music. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 123.
- WK Wikipedia.org