I Will Always Love You
Writer(s): Dolly Parton (see lyrics here)
Released: March 11, 1974
First Charted: April 6, 1974
Peak: 53 US, 12 CW (Click for codes to singles charts.)
Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.2 UK
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 10.0 radio, 20.8 video, 84.55 streaming
I Will Always Love You
Released: November 3, 1992
First Charted: November 13, 1992
Peak: 114 US, 17 RR, 1511 RB, 110 UK, 18 CN, 110 AU, 2 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)
Sales (in millions): 10.0 US, 2.0 UK, 20.0 world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 10.0 radio, 1212.9 video, 499.88 streaming
About the Song:
Considering that this song has topped six different U.S. 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. FB
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 BB 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
First posted 11/28/2011; last updated 8/26/2022.