Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You”

I was watching “American Idol” last night…  My guilty pleasure…  When they announced it was “Dolly Parton Week,” I was thinking to myself, “I hope nobody’s foolish enough to attempt “I Will Always Love You.”  You’d better be REALLY good – I mean REALLY REALLY good if you’re going to sing that song in competition.  Whitney Houston just does these incredible runs that people have come to anticipate, and when you don’t hear those runs, you can’t help but be disappointed, no matter how great the performance.

Now you shouldn’t compare yourself to others, and you shouldn’t compare one person to another person in judging them…  But it’s almost natural to do so…  And well, this is a competition!  Hence, there are judges!  Okay, yes, I realize all of this rambling is a non sequitur…  But my mind is already running ahead to other thoughts now…

Wikipedia – Gotta love Wikipedia!  Interesting quotes:

  • “I Will Always Love You” is a song written and originally performed by American country singer-songwriter Dolly Parton (first released as a single in 1974) and then most famously recorded by American singer Whitney Houston.
  • Elvis Presley – Refused.  Elvis Presley wanted to record a cover of the song, but as he requested full copyrights, she refused to give it to him: “I know he would’ve kill it, but I just couldn’t. Later Whitney Houston appeared and after she recorded it I earned enough money to buy Graceland.” [A couple of other takes on this: ElvisPresleyMusic, ElvisAustralia]
  • Whitney Houston version.  In 1993 singer Whitney Houston covered the song for the soundtrack to The Bodyguard her film debut. The song was also referenced in the plot of the film itself. Houston was originally to record Jimmy Ruffin’s “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” as the lead single from The Bodyguard. However, when the producer discovered the song was to be used for Fried Green Tomatoes, he asked her co-star Kevin Costner to find a new song, and he brought her Linda Ronstadt’s 1975 cover version of the tune from her album Prisoner in Disguise without telling her it was a Dolly Parton composition. Houston reinterpreted the song as a soul ballad, showcasing her voice. It is generally considered Houston’s signature song. (A country version sung by Costner may be heard playing on a jukebox during a bar scene in the movie.)

Dolly Parton – song author

Whitney Houston

  • – music video version; first version I (and many others, I’m sure) heard.  My favorite version!  Until I found the live Arista version…
  • – live Arista version, with more of a gospel/R&B soulful passion to it! The YouTubers’ comments are duly noted…  But an enjoyable performance nonetheless!  Better than the music video!
  • Love the singer!
  • Love the movie, too!

Leona Lewis

  • – “X-Factor” performance (Britain’s “American Idol” equivalent, complete with Simon Cowell’s last comments!)  Yes, she did win X-Factor.  My favorite part of the clip @ 1:40: “I was just a little girl with a little dream…”  Love that accent!
  • Now, here’s a time when you should sing this song in competition!  When you can actually do it!  So very close to Whitney’s version in quality! (And yes, interpretation.)
  • Perhaps this blog entry is a secret way to again plug Leona!  Her debut CD “Spirit” comes out in America on April 8!  It might be the first CD – yes CD, not mp3s – that I buy in…  Oh 5 years?  Maybe not that long… But in a long time!  Listen to the whole album on MTV’s “The Leak” and if you like it, please consider legally puchasing the album on iTunes or on old-fashioned CD’s.  Support the artist!
  • Official YouTube Channel – with many songs from her new album!
  • [Later-in-the-day edit:  Whoa!  After listening to Leona’s and Whitney’s versions again several times, I think I actually like Leona’s version more (than the music video version)!  Except for that one note that Leona overshot at the end…  But so it goes in a live performance.  She hit that note in her earlier X-Factor performance of the song.  Yes, she sang it more than once.  This is the better of the two.  I can see why Simon always looks ga-ga when watching Leona perform; it’s actually kinda funny!]

Syesha Mercado

  • – last night’s “American Idol” performance
  • Sorry…  You can sing a million times better than I, and I’m a fan of yours, but I couldn’t help comparing you to Whitney…  And even Leona.  You’re a great singer, but much of the competition really is about song choice.  You just picked the wrong song there.

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