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How Whitney Houston’s Version of ‘I Will Always Love You’ Dethroned the Original One

Por: Kate Nateras26 de enero de 2023

This is the story of Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You,’ and the reasons why it became one of the best songs in history.

“I Will Always Love You,” proved that Whitney Houston was indeed the best voice of her generation, as her manager Clive Davis called her. The singer broke great records in the industry, in fact, is one of the most awarded artists throughout history, according to the Guinness Book; her legacy continues to this day, and is one of the greatest inspirations for new generations of musicians.

“I Will Always Love You” is one of Whitney Houston’s most recognized songs and was the theme song for the movie The Bodyguard, in which she starred alongside Kevin Costner. Thanks to the song, Houston managed to rise even higher in the sales record, as they called it “a masterful performance” and claim that it is one of the best songs in history.

The Story of “I Will Always Love You”

“I Will Always Love You” was written by Dolly Parton, one of the main representatives of country music. The singer was recognized for a long time for her innovative style and her peculiar voice, and it was Johnny Cash who encouraged her to succeed in music.

In 1966, Dolly was at the peak of her career; she was at the top of the charts, released solo albums, and remained successful for seven years. At the beginning of the 70s, the singer decided to move away from Wagoner’s cycle, her mentor, so her farewell was represented with “I Will Always Love You,” which she wrote as a thank you song for the years she worked with Porter. Four years later, the soloist released a country version of the song and it was very well received by the public. Artists like Linda Ronstadt also did their own version of “I Will Always Love You” in those years.

“I Will Always Love You” and Whitney Houston

In an interview, Clive Davis himself, the great representative of stars in the music industry, including Whitney Houston, revealed how “I Will Always Love You” came into their lives. The Bodyguard was directed by Mick Jackson and produced by Kevin Costner, and it was the latter who suggested the theme for the film.

Costner, Whitney, David Foster (music producer), and Clive realized that this was the perfect song for the airplane scene, so the producer got to work and sent Davis an a cappella recording that immediately struck a chord with him.

“David sent me an a cappella recording that struck me. ‘Don’t take it as-is to the demo’ I’m going to add instruments to it. Two weeks went by, and I got a call from Warner Bros. studios and they told me we had to come out with the single. The demo could not be modified much, and much of it remained in the film version,” said the singer’s manager.

As soon as “I Will Always Love You” was released and began to be played on the radio, it became a smash hit in many parts of the world. It won several awards, although it could never compete for an Oscar because it is an original song from 1973; however, the world could not help but be captivated by Whitney’s adaptation.

More than thirty years after its release, Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” is still the best-selling single of all time by a female artist, and in addition to its success, it became a cultural phenomenon that, to this day, continues.

Story originally published in Spanish in Cultura Colectiva

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