"I Will Always Love You" is a song written by American singer-songwriter Dolly Parton in 1973, who first released the song as a single in 1974. American singer Whitney Houston's (1992) version of the song became one of the best-selling singles of all time.
Dolly Parton wrote the song in 1973 and it was released a year later, having been produced by Bob Ferguson. She has told numerous interviewers over the years that she wrote it for her one-time partner and mentor Porter Wagoner, with whom she was having a business splitting at the time. Recorded on June 17, 1973 in RCA's Studio "B" in Nashville, the song was included on Parton's album Jolene, and was released as a follow-up single, after the country chart-topping success of the title track, in April 1974. The single reached number 1 on the Billboard' Hot Country Songs a month later, but had just modest success on the pop charts. The lyrics express a bittersweet and poignant ode to an ex-lover, and are delivered with Parton's distinctive twang.
Parton re-recorded the song in 1982 to include it on the soundtrack to the film The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Her 1982 version also reached number 1 on the U.S. Hot Country Songs, marking the first time the same song reached number 1 on the country charts twice by the same artist. The 1982 version also saw limited crossover pop success, reaching number 53 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 17 on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks.
Parton had success with the song again in 1995 in a duet with Vince Gill. This time the song peaked at number 15 in December of that year, making it the third time the song was a hit for Parton, albeit in duet form this time. In 2003, CMT ranked it number 16 on their 100 Greatest Songs in Country Music. A year later, CMT ranked it number 1 on their 100 Greatest Country Love Songs.
The most recent release of the song appears on Parton's 2008 album Backwoods Barbie, which features a live version - an exclusive iTunes bonus track.
In the mid-1970s, Elvis Presley had expressed interested in recording the song, but Parton refused to share writing credits (as was the case with many songs Presley performed) with him, and so he ultimately did not cover the song.