Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton

This weekend Smooth Radio presenter Andy Peebles talks to one of America’s most successful music artists, multi-million selling queen of country Dolly Parton.

Born in 1940s Tennessee, Dolly talks about the hardship endured by her family throughout her childhood; “looking back it’s been a blessing in disguise. Even though it seemed hard at the time especially for my mum and dad and that’s the only regret I’ve ever had, is that they had it hard.”

In 1973 Parton wrote the song ‘I Will Always Love You’, nineteen years later Whitney Houston recorded the song for the film The Bodyguard. Whitney’s version was a massive success, selling over fifteen million copies worldwide.

Asked if she’s ever envious of Whitney’s success, Dolly said; “a lot of people say ‘that’s Whitney’s song’, I say that’s fine. I want her to have it as long as she sends me my money!” She adds; “I would be a fool not to be grateful because I had no idea that that song could be done in the way that she did it or that it could be taken to that level with someone of that talent, that caliber.”

Whitney Houston wasn’t the only star keen to record the song. Elvis too was planning to record a version during a studio session in the seventies. Dolly talks about the call she took from Elvis Presley’s manager Colonel Tom Parker; “He told me they only record songs with Elvis if they have the publishing or at least half the publishing and I’d already had a hit with that and started my own publishing company. I just said ‘I can not do that’ and he said ‘then we can not record it’.”

Reflecting on the decision Dolly said; “I cried over that for years off and on. Every time I think about how it would have sounded if Elvis could have done it.  That was one of the sad things, one of the harder decisions I’ve had to make.”

So, at 64 and with four decades of song-writing, singing and performing behind her, does Dolly Parton have any plans to quit? Far from it. She comments; “I don’t think I’ll ever retire, I just want to be able to continue doing what I do and I love to write and be creative so I’m going to continue doing that.”

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