Saturday, November 28, 1992

Whitney Houston hit #1 with "I Will Always Love You"

I Will Always Love You

Dolly Parton

Writer(s): Dolly Parton (see lyrics here)

Released: March 11, 1974

First Charted: April 6, 1974

Peak: 53 BB, 12 CW, 8 CN, 72 AU, 7 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.2 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 10.0 radio, 56.38 video, 123.23 streaming

I Will Always Love You

Whitney Houston

Released: November 3, 1992

First Charted: November 13, 1992

Peak: 114 US, 114 CB, 17 GR, 17 RR, 1511 RB, 110 UK, 18 CN, 110 AU, 2 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 10.0 US, 2.0 UK, 24.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 10.0 radio, 2030.25 video, 684.43 streaming

Awards (Parton’s version):

Awards (Houston’s version):

About the Song:

“If anyone was born a songwriter, it was Dolly Parton.” CL Her “God-given gifts were never better displayed than when she wrote ‘I Will Always Love You,’” CL her most successful song. She wrote it for Porter Wagoner, her mentor and professional partner. It “was a thank you for the break Wagoner had given her. It was also her good-bye” CL as she knew she had to move on by herself. It became a #1 country song in 1974 and 1982. The latter 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. 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. Author Rod Couch certainly thought so, ranking it the #1 song of the rock era in his 2015 book. RC 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.

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 The original plan to record Jimmy Ruffin’s “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted” was 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 was also Costner who suggested the a cappella opening for her version. SS

Not everyone was enamored with Houston’s vocal acrobatics. Jeff Tweedy of Weezer said he hated the song, albeit he confessed that “Maybe because, as a singer, I’m not very good at it...People tend to diminish or dismiss stuff they’re bad at.” JT However, the vast majority of listeners loved the song, making it 1992’s biggest pop hit CPM and the first triple-platinum-selling single by a woman. BB It 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


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First posted 11/28/2011; last updated 4/30/2024.

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