This is not a love song in the conventional sense; Parton wrote it for a close friend. In 1967, she was invited by the country star Porter Wagoner to co-host his TV show, where they became famous for their duets. In time though, her enormous talent eclipsed that of her mentor, and she moved on to greener pastures. She wrote the song for him to show her appreciation for the time they had worked together.
Leaving Wagoner wasn't easy - he thought Parton was making a mistake and felt she was being disloyal. Parton played the song to Wagoner the morning after she wrote it as her way of letting him know that her mind was made up and to express how she felt about him. Apparently, it got the message across: Parton said that Wagoner was in tears when she finished, and he called it "the prettiest song I ever heard."
This all went down in 1973, and the following year Parton and Wagoner formally announced their split after a seven-year partnership. Said Parton: "I wrote that song to say, 'Here's how I feel. I will always love you, but I have to go.'"
Suggestion credit: Alexander Baron - London, England
This was the second of five consecutive #1 Country hits that Parton had after establishing herself as a solo artist.
Parton later recorded a second version of this song for the 1982 film The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, which she starred in along with Burt Reynolds. The second version not only became a #1 Country hit (like the first version), but also became a crossover hit, reaching #53 on the Hot 100.
After this song was released, Elvis Presley wanted to cover it. Parton was interested, but Presley's handlers insisted that he be given a share of the publishing rights if he recorded it - a common demand at the time. Parton held her ground, which was a very difficult decision, but one that worked out very well for her, since the publishing rights she would have relinquished turned out to be substantial. "My songs were what I was leaving for my family and I wouldn't give them up," she told Mojo in 2004. "People said I was stupid. I cried all night. I would have killed to hear him sing it. But, eventually, when Whitney recorded it, I was glad I held out."
In the 1974 film Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, the first version can be softly heard in the background of a scene where Ellen Burstyn's character Alice Hyatt meets a violent good-old boy named Ben Eberhart (played by Harvey Keitel). Despite this, the song is not featured on the film's soundtrack.
When this song was chosen for the 1992 film The Bodyguard, it proved to be a huge benefit for both Parton and Whitney Houston. For Houston, it provided her signature song, showcasing her otherworldly talents as a singer. Her version became a worldwide success in pop music, earning huge royalties for both artists. Parton's country ballad was now familiar to audiences of pop, soul, and adult contemporary, and not just in America: Houston took it to #1 in a variety of territories, including the UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Japan, and Netherlands.
In 1995, Parton recorded a third version of this song with Vince Gill as a duet. This version became a Top 20 Country hit and won the 1995 Country Music Association Award and received a Grammy nomination.
Other artists who have covered this song include Kenny Rogers, Linda Ronstadt, Sarah Washington, and Roger Whittaker.
Suggestion credit: Jerro - New Alexandria, PA, for above 3
Parton had a variety show in 1976 called Dolly! that lasted one season. To close every episode, she would recite the opening lyrics to this song ("And I hope life treats you kind...") and sing it as the credits rolled.
This ballad came in at #1 in a 2011 Valentine's Day poll by CMT to find the best love song. It was followed in the CMT Greatest Love Song list by Willie Nelson's "Always On My Mind" in second place and Faith Hill's "Breathe" in third. We wonder how many people would be surprised to find out "Always Love You" is not a conventional love song, but was penned by Dolly for a close friend rather than a lover.
Parton performed this song to Porter Wagoner on May 19, 2007 during his Porter 50th Anniversary Celebration at the Grand Ole Opry. "This was my goodbye song to Porter," Parton said before singing to him. Wagoner was suffering from lung cancer at the time and died on October 28, 2007.
Dolly Parton said during an interview on the Bobby Bones Show that she thinks she wrote " Jolene" and "I Will Always Love You" on the same day.
Martin from BulgariaI'm sorry but Whitney Houston had 1000 times better voice than Dolly who sounds as a goat!
Sierra from Nowhere, IdThe spoken part is like "I hope life treats you kind and I hope that you have all that you ever dreamed of and I wish you joy and happiness. But above all of this, I wish you love" but it doesn't play that part in this video
Annabelle from Eugene, OrWhich part is the spoken part in this song? I don't think I've ever heard it.
Jeff from Casa Grande, AzDolly's voice on this track just does something to me, that I can't explain. Like a spell or something, I have fallen in love with it. It's like pure femininity. Like it's a big ol' nipple and it sucks me in. Or, I'm the nipple and I suck it in. I don't know. I'm just saying is all. There's something sucking some other thing into that voice, and it's . . . like the Sirens singing to Odyseus! Helpless to its power. Overwhelmed with urges to go over to it, where is it? My goodness, I have to have it. Dolly!!!!
George from Louisville, KyI've been in love with this woman for years and she doesn't even know it. But then again so has many others. Sing it baby.
Mark from Byrdstown, TnParton is a great songwriter.She doesnt have the greatest voice but she owns this song.No one else can come close.I just happened to be at the Grand Ole Opry the night Porter Wagoner was honored for 50 years in the music business .Parton made somewhat of a surprise visit and sang this song to Porter,whom she wrote it for,and it was very very special.No one could have known ,of course,but just a few short months later ,in late Oct.2007,Porter would be dead.I have a great picture taken by a friend of her whispering something in his ear.What a night!
Annie from LondonApart from this track, Slow dancing with the moon is also a lovely song but not aired in UK.
Janet from Orlando, FlWhat was the song that Dolly Parton sang at the end of her show,? was it I will always love you. (The Dolly Parton Show 1976).
George from Richmond, VaDolly is not only one of country music's best performers but probably the greatest writer as well. Love her.
Dave from Cardiff, WalesRik Waller did a dreadful cover of this song in 2001, but fortunately it flopped...
Al from Stafford Springs, CtOften cited as one of the greatest love songs, it's actually a breakup song! The song simple states that although there is no way I can still be with you, I will always appreciate everything you've done for me. Despite this, it still gets played at weddings!!
Joshua from Leavenworth, KsThis song has been a big hit for Parton 3 times. The original in 1972, the 'Whorehouse" version in the 80's and then the duet version with Vince Gill in the 90's on the ablum "Something Special". Not to mention of course Whitney Houstons version for the Bodyguard soundtrack. It was written by Parton when she decided to leave the Porter Wagoner show. It was written "for him".