I Will Always Love You

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"I Will Always Love You"
Single by Dolly Parton
from the album Jolene
B-side"Lonely Comin' Down"
ReleasedJune 6, 1974[1]
Format7" vinyl
RecordedJune 13, 1973[2]
GenreCountry
Length2:53
LabelRCA Nashville
Writer(s)Dolly Parton
Producer(s)Bob Ferguson
Dolly Parton singles chronology
"Jolene"
(1973)
"I Will Always Love You"
(1974)
"Love Is Like a Butterfly"
(1974)
1982 release chronology
"Heartbreak Express"
(1982)
"I Will Always Love You"
(1982)
"Hard Candy Christmas"
(1982)
 
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This article is about the song by Dolly Parton, later covered by Whitney Houston in 1992. For other uses, see I Will Always Love You (disambiguation).
"I Will Always Love You"
Single by Dolly Parton
from the album Jolene
B-side"Lonely Comin' Down"
ReleasedJune 6, 1974[1]
Format7" vinyl
RecordedJune 13, 1973[2]
GenreCountry
Length2:53
LabelRCA Nashville
Writer(s)Dolly Parton
Producer(s)Bob Ferguson
Dolly Parton singles chronology
"Jolene"
(1973)
"I Will Always Love You"
(1974)
"Love Is Like a Butterfly"
(1974)
1982 release chronology
"Heartbreak Express"
(1982)
"I Will Always Love You"
(1982)
"Hard Candy Christmas"
(1982)

"I Will Always Love You" is a song by American singer-songwriter Dolly Parton. The country track was released on June 6, 1974 as the second single from Parton's thirteenth solo studio album, Jolene (1974). The singer wrote the song, which was recorded on June 13, 1973, for her one-time partner and mentor Porter Wagoner, from whom she was professionally splitting at the time.

"I Will Always Love You" received positive comments from critics and attained commercial success, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart two times. With the accomplishment, Parton became the first artist ever to earn a number one record twice with the same song as a singer, and three times as a writer. "I Will Always Love You" is the second song ever to reach the top three on the Billboard Hot 100 in separate chart runs.[3] Parton also sang the song in the film The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

Whitney Houston recorded a version of the song for the 1992 film The Bodyguard. It has since become one of the best selling singles of all time.[4]

Background and composition[edit]

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An 18 second sample of Parton's 1982 recording of "I Will Always Love You".

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Parton wrote the track in 1973 for her one-time partner and mentor Porter Wagoner, from whom she was separating professionally at the time.[5][6] She recorded it on June 13, 1973.[2] Parton later re-recorded the song in 1982, when it was included on the soundtrack of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.[7] Author Curtis W. Ellison stated that the song "speaks about the breakup of a relationship between a man and a woman that does not descend into unremitting domestic turmoil, but instead envisions parting with respect – because of the initiative of the woman."[1] According to sheet music published at musicnotes.com by Hal Leonard Corporation, the country love track is set in time signature of common time with a tempo of 66 beats per minute.[8] During an interview, Parton's manager Danny Nozel said that "one thing we found out from American Idol is that most people don't know that Dolly Parton wrote [the track]".[9]

In addition to the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas soundtrack, Parton's original 1974 recording of the song also appeared in Martin Scorsese's film Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore.

Reception[edit]

In his book Country music culture: from hard times to Heaven (1995), Ellison stated, "in the early 1990s, when ambiguity in romantic relationships accompanies changing expectations for both men and women, this song demonstrates Dolly Parton's appeal as a songwriter in the pop music market."[1] Ken Knight, author of The Midnight Show: Late Night Cable-TV "Guy-Flicks" of the 80's (2008), commented that Parton is the only singer who can sing "I Will Always Love You" and "make it memorable".[10] Writer Paul Simpson criticized the singer, stating that the track was only written to "soften the blow" of Parton and Wagoner's split.[11] On its first release, "I Will Always Love You" reached number four in Canada and number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs, becoming one of the best selling singles of 1974.[12]

Around the time the song reached number one on the country charts, Elvis Presley indicated that he wanted to cover the song. Parton was interested until Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, told her that it was standard procedure for the songwriter to sign over half of the publishing rights to any song Elvis recorded.[13] Parton refused, and that decision is credited with helping to make her many millions of dollars in royalties from the song over the years. After being re-released in 1982, the track once again peaked at number one on Hot Country Songs, making Parton the first artist ever to earn a number one record twice with the same song.[1] After recording a duet with Vince Gill in 1995, "I Will Always Love You" re-entered the Billboard chart and peaked at number 15.[14]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "I Will Always Love You" – 2:53
  2. "Lonely Comin' Down" – 3:09

Charts[edit]

Chart (1974)Peak
position
Canadian RPM Country Tracks[15]4
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs[14]1
Chart (1982)Peak
position
Australian Kent Music Report[16]72
Canadian RPM Top Singles[15]8
Canadian RPM Country Tracks[15]1
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks[15]2
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[17]53
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs[14]1
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks[18]17
Chart (1995)Peak
position
Canadian RPM Country Tracks[15]22
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs[14]15
Preceded by
"Pure Love" by Ronnie Milsap
Billboard Hot Country Singles number-one single
June 8, 1974
Succeeded by
"I Don't See Me in Your Eyes Anymore" by Charlie Rich
Preceded by
"Yesterday's Wine" by Merle Haggard and George Jones
Billboard Hot Country Singles number-one single
October 16, 1982
Succeeded by
"He Got You" by Ronnie Milsap
Preceded by
"What's Forever For" by Michael Martin Murphey
RPM Country Tracks number-one single
October 23–30, 1982
Succeeded by
"Let It Be Me" by Willie Nelson

Whitney Houston version[edit]

"I Will Always Love You"
Single by Whitney Houston
from the album The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album
ReleasedNovember 3, 1992 (1992-11-03)
Format
RecordedSpring 1992
Genre
Length4:33
LabelArista
Writer(s)Dolly Parton
Producer(s)David Foster
Whitney Houston singles chronology
"We Didn't Know"
(1992)
"I Will Always Love You"
(1992)
"I'm Every Woman"
(1993)
Music sample
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The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album track listing
"I Will Always Love You"
(1)
"I Have Nothing"
(2)
Music video
"I Will Always Love You" on YouTube

In 1992, singer Whitney Houston recorded the song for the soundtrack to The Bodyguard, her film debut. Houston was originally to record Jimmy Ruffin's "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" as the lead single from The Bodyguard. However, when it was discovered the song was to be used for Fried Green Tomatoes, Houston requested a different song, and her co-star Kevin Costner brought her Linda Ronstadt's 1975 version of "I Will Always Love You" from her album Prisoner in Disguise. Houston and producer David Foster re-arranged the song as an R&B, soul and smooth jazz ballad. Her record company did not feel a song with an a cappella introduction would be as successful; however, Houston and Costner insisted on retaining the a cappella intro. The tenor saxophone solo was played by Kirk Whalum. Whitney Houston's recording is not the only version of the song featured in the movie. In a scene where she dances with Kevin Costner, a version by John Doe can be heard playing on a jukebox.

Houston's version was a massive worldwide success; it appears at No. 9 on NME's "Greatest No 1 Singles in History" list.[19]

Music video[edit]

The single's music video, credited to Alan Smithee (who was actually director Nick Brandt, who removed his name due to the way Clive Davis re-edited the video), and produced by Rob Newman, begins with the performance of the song Houston gives at the end of The Bodyguard. The video then cuts to Houston in a dark blue suit sitting in an empty theater with the spotlight shining on her, singing of her love. The video is intercut with scenes from The Bodyguard and gives the viewer the experience of reliving the moments with the singer. Because at the time of the video's shooting Houston was pregnant with her daughter Bobbi Kristina, she is shown only sitting on the theater scenes.[20]

Chart performance[edit]

The single spent 14 weeks at the top of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, which at the time was a record.[21][22] The single became Houston's longest run at number one, smashing her previous record, which was three weeks with 1986's, "Greatest Love of All." It is also the longest running number one single from a soundtrack album.

The single debuted at number 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became Houston's tenth number one hit a mere two weeks later. It also dominated various other Billboard charts, spending 14 weeks at the top of Billboard Hot 100 Single Sales chart and 11 weeks at number one on its Hot 100 Airplay chart. The song also stayed at number one for five weeks on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks and for 11 weeks on the Hot R&B Singles chart becoming the longest running number one on the R&B charts at the time, and remained in the top 40 for 24 weeks.[23][24][25] It became Arista Records' biggest hit. The song was number one on the Hot 100, Adult Contemporary, and R&B chart simultaneously for a record-equaling five weeks; Ray Charles' I Can't Stop Loving You in 1962 achieved the same feat on the same charts.[26]

Houston's single sold approximately 400,000 copies in its second week on the summit, making it the best-selling song in a single week (taking the record from Bryan Adams' "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You"). It broke its own record in the following three weeks, peaking at 632,000 copies in the week ended December 27, 1992, Billboard the issue date of January 9, 1993 (the week it broke its own record for most copies sold in a single week for any song in the Nielsen SoundsScan era). The record was broken by Elton John's "Candle in the Wind 1997/Something About the Way You Look Tonight", selling 3.4 million in the final week of September 1997.[27] "I Will Always Love You" was certified 4× Platinum in the U.S. for shipments of over 4 million copies by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on January 12, 1993, making Houston the first female artist with a single to reach that level in the RIAA history.[28][29] According to Nielsen SoundScan, as of 2009, the single sold 4,591,000 copies, and became the second best-selling physical single in U.S. alone, only behind Elton John's single in 1997.[30]

Houston's single made a massive international success, peaking at number one of the singles charts in almost all countries, including the Eurochart Hot 100 Singles, spent 13 weeks at the top. The single also hit pole position for ten weeks in Australia,[31] five weeks in Austria,[32] seven weeks for Belgium,[33] eight weeks in France,[34] six weeks in Germany,[35] eight weeks in Ireland,[36] two weeks in Italy,[37] six weeks in Netherlands,[38] 11 weeks in New Zealand,[39] nine weeks in Norway,[40] six weeks in Sweden,[41] eight weeks in Switzerland,[42] and ten weeks in the United Kingdom.[43] Houston's 10-week reign in the U.K. set the record for the longest run at the top by a solo female artist in the history of the British singles chart.[44][45][46] It is the only single to have ever topped the U.S., the U.K. and Australian singles charts for at least ten weeks.[22][31][43] In the United Kingdom, the single sold over 1,550,000 copies, becoming the tenth best-selling single of the 1990s, and was certified 2× Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) on January 1, 1993.[47][48][49] It was certified Platinum for shipments of over 500,000 copies by the Bundesverband Musikindustrie (BVMI) in Germany.[50] In Japan, "I Will Always Love You" sold over 810,000 copies, staying for 27 weeks on the chart, and became the best-selling single by a foreign female artist at the time, though the single did not top the record chart unlike most other countries.[51][52]

The song stayed at number one in the United States throughout January and February in 1993, making it the first time Billboard didn't rank a new number one single until March of the new year. Houston's "I Will Always Love You" was also the year-end single of 1993 in the U.S.[53] Similarly, in the U.K., Houston's version was ranked the number one single of 1992, and then made the countdown again in 1993 where it was ranked number nine, marking the first time any artist or group had the same single ranked in the top 10 of the year-end review two years in a row.[54] In Australia, it was the number 17 single of 1992 and the number two song of 1993.[55][56]

Only a few hours after Houston's death on February 11, 2012, "I Will Always Love You" topped the U.S. iTunes Charts. Also, that same week after her death, the single returned to the Billboard Hot 100, after almost 20 years, debuting at number 7, and becoming a posthumous top-ten single for Houston, the first one since 2001. The song eventually peaked at No. 3, two spots shy of becoming the first song to return to the No. 1 position after falling off the chart since "The Twist" by Chubby Checker.[57] It debuted on the Billboard Hot Digital Singles Chart at number 3 on the chart dated February 25, 2012 with over 195,000 copies downloaded.[58] In the United Kingdom, the song charted at number 10 the week of Houston's death.[59]

Critical response[edit]

Upon its release, Houston's version was acclaimed by many critics, called it her "signature song". Stephen Holden of The New York Times praised the work as a "magnificent rendition," commenting "Houston transforms a plaintive country ballad into a towering pop-gospel assertion of lasting devotion to a departing lover. Her voice breaking and tensing, she treats the song as a series of emotional bursts in a steady climb toward a final full-out declamation. Along the way, her virtuosic gospel embellishments enhance the emotion and never seem merely ornamental."[60] Writing for USA Today on November 17, 1992, James T. Jones IV simply called it "the tour-de-force," and added "[Houston] gives a 312-star [out of four] performance. Where Dolly Parton's original I Will Always Love You was plaintive and tear- stained, Houston's is gospel-infused and dramatic."[61] Chris Willman from the Los Angeles Times also gave good comments on her vocal performance, stating "Houston has the goods to deliver on the tune's haunting beauty and resists overpowering it – until the finale, when the key change and stratospheric notes drain all the heart-rending sadness out of the song and make it sound like just another anthem of survival."[62] Amy Linden of Entertainment Weekly wrote Houston's version "is artistically satisfying and uncharacteristically hip for the MOR songbird."[63]

Accolades[edit]

"I Will Always Love You" won the Record of the Year, and Best Pop Vocal Performance, Femaleㅡwhich was Houston's third award for this category after 1986 and 1988ㅡat the 36th Grammy Awards in 1994. During the Grammy Award telecast, the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female was presented to Houston by composer Dolly Parton, along with David Foster. The single topped the 1993 Billboard Hot 100 and Hot R&B Singles year-end charts simultaneously, becoming the first single by a female artist and the second overall to achieve that feat behind Prince's "When Doves Cry" in 1984. In addition, it received Favorite Pop/Rock Single and Favorite Soul/R&B Single awards at the 21st American Music Awards, which was the first record by a solo female artist to win both categories, and the third overall in AMA history behind "Endless Love" by Lionel Richie & Diana Ross in 1982 and "Beat It" by Michael Jackson in 1984. "I Will Always Love You" won two Japan Gold Disc Awards for 1993 International Song of the Year, and for 1994 International Song of the Year Special Award, presented to the product which released before that year, sales over one million units or sales higher than product get award on same category, selling 600,000 copies in 1993 only, in Japan[64]

In 2004, Houston's version of "I Will Always Love You" finished at #65 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema.

YearAwards ceremonyAward description(s)Results
1993The 19th People's Choice AwardsFavorite New Music Video[65]Won
The 7th Soul Train Music AwardsBest R&B/Soul Single, Female[66]Won
The 7th Japan Gold Disc AwardsSong of the Year (International)[67]Won
The 2nd MTV Movie AwardsBest Song from a Movie[68][69]Won
The 4th Billboard Music Awards#1 Hot 100 Single (Hot 100 Single of the Year)[70][71]Won
#1 Hot R&B Single (R&B Single of the Year)[70][71]Won
Special Award: Single Most Weeks at No. 1 (14 weeks)[70][71]Won
No. 1 World Single[70][71]Won
No. 1 Hot 100 Singles Sales[70]Won
No. 1 Hot R&B Singles Sales[70]Won
1994The 21st American Music AwardsFavorite Pop/Rock Single[72]Won
Favorite Soul/R&B Single[72]Won
36th Grammy AwardsRecord of the Year[73]Won
Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female[73]Won
The 8th Soul Train Music AwardsBest R&B Song of the Year[74][75]Won
The 8th Japan Gold Disc AwardsSpecial Award[67]Won

Formats and track listings[edit]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Billboard Magazine Hot 100 Anniversary Charts[edit]

YearTitleCategoryPositionSource
1998Billboard 40 Years of the Top 40The Top 10 RemakesNo. 2[131]
The Top 10 "Love" SongsNo. 2[131]
Billboard The Hot 100 of the Hot 100: Top Songs of Four DecadesNo. 6[132]
The Top 10 Soundtrack SongsNo. 1[133]
Song with the Most Weeks at No. 1 (14 weeks)No. 2[133]
2008Billboard Hot 100 50th AnniversaryThe Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top SongsNo. 68[134]
The All-Time Top R&B/Hip-Hop SongsNo. 27[135]
Hot 100 Song of the Year – 1993No. 1[136]
2013Billboard Hot 100 55th AnniversaryThe Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top SongsNo. 49[137]
The All-Time Top R&B/Hip-Hop SongsNo. 27[138]
Hot 100 Song of the Year – 1993No. 1[139]

Chart procession and succession[edit]

Order of precedence
Preceded by
"End of the Road" by Boyz II Men
Australian Singles Chart number-one single
December 19, 1992 – February 26, 1993 (10 weeks)
Succeeded by
"You Don't Treat Me No Good" by Sonia Dada
Preceded by
"Would I Lie to You?" by Charles & Eddie
"Would I Lie to You?" by Charles & Eddie
Austrian Singles Chart number-one single
January 24 – February 7, 1993
February 21–28, 1993 (5 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Would I Lie to You?" by Charles & Eddie
"No Limit" by 2 Unlimited
Preceded by
"Highland" by One More Time
"Would I Lie to You?" by Charles & Eddie
Belgian Singles Chart number-one single
January 9–15, 1993
January 23 – March 5, 1993 (7 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Would I Lie to You?" by Charles & Eddie
"It's OK, All Right" by Def Dames Dope
Preceded by
"Song Instead of a Kiss" by Alannah Myles
Canadian Singles Chart number-one single
December 19, 1992 – February 26, 1993 (8 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Steam" by Peter Gabriel
Preceded by
"End of the Road" by Boyz II Men
Dutch Singles Chart number-one single
Dutch Top 40

December 12, 1992 – February 19, 1993 (9 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Mockin' Bird Hill" by Roots Syndicate
Preceded by
"End of the Road" by Boyz II Men
Eurochart Hot 100 number-one single
December 5, 1992 – March 5, 1993 (13 weeks)
Succeeded by
"No Limit" by 2 Unlimited
Preceded by
"Dur dur d'être bébé!" by Jordy
French Singles Chart number-one single
January 30 – March 20, 1993 (8 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Alison" by Jordy
Preceded by
"Would I Lie to You?" by Charles & Eddie
German Singles Chart number-one single
January 25 – March 7, 1993 (6 weeks)
Succeeded by
"All That She Wants" by Ace of Base
Preceded by
"End of the Road" by Boyz II Men
Irish Singles Chart number-one single
December 3, 1992 – January 23, 1993 (8 weeks)
Succeeded by
"This Time" by Christy Moore
Preceded by
"Don't You Want Me" by Felix
Italian Singles Chart number-one single
December 5–18, 1992 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Dur dur d'être bébé!" by Jordy
Preceded by
"Would I Lie to You?" by Charles & Eddie
New Zealand Singles Chart number-one single
December 18, 1992 – March 25, 1993 (11 weeks)
Succeeded by
"In the Still of the Nite (I'll Remember) by Boyz II Men
Preceded by
"Wheel of Fortune by Ace of Base
Norwegian Singles Chart number-one single
53rd week, 1992 – 8th week, 1993 (9 weeks)
Succeeded by
"No Limit" by 2 Unlimited
Preceded by
"Dur dur d'être bébé!" by Jordy
Spanish Singles Chart number-one single
February 20, 1993
Succeeded by
"I Feel You" by Depeche Mode
Preceded by
"House of Love" by East 17
Swedish Singles Chart number-one single
January 13 – February 23, 1993 (6 weeks)
Succeeded by
"No Limit" by 2 Unlimited
Preceded by
"Die da!?" by Die Fantastischen Vier
Swiss Singles Chart number-one single
January 17 – March 13, 1993 (8 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Somebody Dance with Me by DJ BoBo
Preceded by
"Would I Lie To You?" by Charles & Eddie
UK Singles Chart number-one single
December 5, 1992 – February 12, 1993 (10 weeks)
Succeeded by
"No Limit" by 2 Unlimited
Preceded by
"How Do You Talk to an Angel" by The Heights
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
November 28, 1992 – March 5, 1993 (14 weeks)
Succeeded by
"A Whole New World" by Peabo Bryson & Regina Belle
Preceded by
"To Love Somebody" by Michael Bolton
U.S. Adult Contemporary number-one single
December 19, 1992 – January 16, 1993 (5 weeks)
Succeeded by
"A Whole New World" by Peabo Bryson & Regina Belle
Preceded by
"How Do You Talk to an Angel" by The Heights
U.S. Top 40/Mainstream number-one single
December 12, 1992 – February 6, 1993 (9 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Ordinary World" by Duran Duran
Preceded by
"If I Ever Fall In Love" by Shai
U.S. R&B Singles number-one single
December 5, 1992 – February 13, 1993 (11 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Hip Hop Hooray" by Naughty by Nature

Certifications[edit]

RegionCertificationSales/shipments
Austria (IFPI Austria)[140]Gold25,000x
France (SNEP)[141]Gold332,000[142]
Germany (BVMI)[143]Platinum500,000^
Italy (FIMI)[144]Platinum15,000*
Japan810,080[52]
Japan (RIAJ)[145]Platinum250,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[146]Platinum75,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[147]Platinum15,000*
Mexico (AMPROFON)[148]Gold30,000^
Sweden (GLF)[149]Platinum50,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[150]2× Platinum1,550,000[151]
United States (RIAA)[152]4× Platinum4,591,000[153]
United States (RIAA)[152]2× Platinum2,016,000[30]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Controversy[edit]

After Whitney Houston's cover of the song became a hit, the tabloid press began reporting on a 'feud' between the two performers, stemming from Parton's allegedly reneging on an agreement that she would not perform the song for a number of months while Houston's version was on the charts, so as not to compete with the more recent cover. However, both Houston and Parton have dispelled any rumors, speaking glowingly of one another in interviews,[154][155] Houston praising Parton for writing a beautiful song, and Parton thanking Houston for bringing her song to a wider audience, and in the process making her a great deal of money in royalties. Dolly Parton also gave a live interview, confirming this.

On the day of Houston's death in February 2012, Parton said in a statement to Billboard "Mine is only one of the millions of hearts broken over the death of Whitney Houston, I will always be grateful and in awe of the wonderful performance she did on my song and I can truly say from the bottom of my heart, 'Whitney, I will always love you. You will be missed.'"[156]

See also[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

Beyoncé version[edit]

In 2012, following Houston's death American recording artist Beyoncé performed a tribute to the singer during her revue Revel Presents: Beyoncé Live in Atlantic City, New Jersey at the Revel resort.[157][158] Wearing a red dress, Beyoncé began the performance of her song "Halo" singing the first verse of "I Will Always Love" a cappella.[158][159] Her live rendition of the song received positive reviews from music critics. While reviewing the revue, Kyle Anderson of Entertainment Weekly wrote that "the most attention-grabbing moments of the night... came when she dipped into other artists' catalogs".[157] Maura Johnston of The Village Voice stated that when Beyoncé started singing the opening lines of the song, the crowd "sighed in unison".[158] USA Today's Elysa Gardner described the performance as an "artful transition"[160] while Ben Ratliff of The New York Times mentioned the song in the "almost continuous high point" of the concert.[161] Tris McCall of The Star-Ledger wrote that Beyoncé performed a "powerful" version of the song driven by crescendos and sudden hushes, adding that the Ovation Hall "captured all of the singer's nuances".[162] He concluded his review by writing that "Houston would have loved it."[162] A writer of Complex magazine noted that Beyoncé's voice was stellar throughout the performance of the ballad[163] while Rebecca Thomas of MTV News described the live rendition as "the more memorable" among the other songs.[164] Jim Farber from the Daily News noted that the cover showed a sentimental side of Beyoncé who sang a "sweet bit" of it.[165] Dan DeLuca of Philadelphia Inquirer wrote that the singer performed a "flawless" a cappella verse of the song while another writer of the same publication noted that she "showed off a nice sense of historical debt by paying loving tribute to" the singer.[166][167]

Beyoncé performing "I Will Always Love You" and "Halo" during a stop of The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour in 2013

Later, in 2013, during her The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour Beyoncé also sang the opening lines of "I Will Always Love You" prior to the performance of "Halo" as the final song of the tour.[168] A writer of Vibe magazine described her rendition of the song as "heart-stopping".[169] Gordon Smart of The Sun noted that the performance of the song was the perfect encore reducing fans to tears.[170] Tim de Lisle of Daily Mail praised Beyoncé's vocals during the song describing them as "big" adding that she sings the song "straight at first, then adding some heavy drums to stop it getting too sugary".[171] Warren Manger of Birmingham Mail noted that the performance of "I Will Always Love You" showed off "the full majesty of her velvet voice".[172] Simon Price of The Independent wrote, "As the encores approach, backstreet bookies in the corridors are taking bets as to the exact duration of the first 'I' in 'I Will Always Love You'."[173] However, in contrast, Philip Matusavage from musicOMH gave a mixed review for the song writing, "Many of the other performances vary little from how she has performed them many times before. The low-point of this comes when a brief cover of I Will Always Love You flows into Halo, re-tooled as a tribute to Whitney Houston. Given that it’s already been used to honour both Michael Jackson and the victims of the Haiti earthquake, it can’t help but feel rather schmaltzy and hollow."[174]

Jennifer Hudson version[edit]

Jennifer Hudson performed the song in front of Houston in 2010. On February 12, 2012, Hudson performed the song as a tribute during the 54th Grammy Awards, the day after Houston's death, alongside images of musicians who had died in 2011 and 2012, including Amy Winehouse and Etta James. The song was played at Houston's funeral as her casket was brought out of the church. Parton complimented Hudson on her performance of the song at the Grammys and praised Houston's amazing gift in a statement earlier Monday (February 13), saying, "I was brought to tears again last night, as I'm sure many were, when Jennifer Hudson sang 'I Will Always Love You' on the Grammys in memory of Whitney. Like everybody else, I am still in shock. But I know that Whitney will live forever in all the great music that she left behind. I will always have a very special piece of her in the song we shared together and had the good fortune to share with the world. Rest in peace, Whitney. Again, we will always love you."[175]

Other versions[edit]

One of the earliest covers was Linda Ronstadt's version of the song, which she included on her 1975 Prisoner in Disguise album. Ronstadt's version included the first two verses, but omitted the spoken bridge. Hank Marvin did an instrumental version of the song in 1993 on his album Heartbeat. Alex Bugnon did a cover version of the song on his album "This Time Around", released in 1993. LeAnn Rimes covered "I Will Always Love You" on her first compilation CD Unchained Melody: The Early Years, released in 1997. John Tesh did an instrumental version of the song in 1998 on his album "Pure Movies".

Jennifer Hudson covered "I Will Always Love You" during the 54th Annual Grammy Awards. Hudson was asked by executive producer Ken Ehrlich to sing the song as a tribute to Whitney Houston, who had died the night before the show.[176] In 2012, the song was covered in musical TV series Glee in episode "Heart" performed by Amber Riley as her character Mercedes Jones.[177] Lulu Roman (of Hee Haw fame) covered "I Will Always Love You" with Dolly Parton providing harmony vocals. Roman's version was released on her 2013 album At Last. Il Divo recorded a Spanish-English version, "Siempre Te Amaré," and included it on their 2012 Greatest Hits album.

Our Lady J released a cover of "I Will Always Love You" on her 2013 debut album "Picture of a Man," with an arrangement unique from both the Dolly Parton original and well-known Whitney Houston cover.[178]

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External links[edit]