Dolly Parton opened up about the “best” thing she bought with royalties from her song “I Will Always Love You,” revealing this week that it was an investment in a Black community.
The country music legend sat down with Andy Cohen during a virtual appearance on “Watch What Happens Live” and was asked about her royalties from “I Will Always Love You.” Fans of the song know and love it as a classic Whitney Houston hit that appeared in the 1992 film, “The Bodyguard,” but the song was originally written and recorded by Parton in 1973.
With Houston, the song went on to top the charts for months and became one of the bestselling singles of all time. It also racked up numerous awards, including two Grammys. Parton reportedly earned $10 million from the cover, according to Yahoo Finance.
That $10 million apparently went into Parton’s “big office complex in Nashville,” which she says was part of a Black community.
“I thought, ‘Well, this is a wonderful place to be.’ I bought a property down in what was the Black area of town, and it was mostly just Black families and people that lived around there. It was just off the beaten path from 16th Avenue and I thought, ‘Well, I am gonna buy this place — the whole strip mall,’” she told Cohen, before adding: “And I thought, ‘This is the perfect place for me to be,’ considering it was Whitney. I thought this was great — I’m just gonna be down here with her people, who are my people as well. So, I just love the fact that I spent that money on a complex and I think, ‘This is the house that Whitney built.’”
There were rumors over the years that Parton and Houston had a feud over the song, but both women had publicly dispelled them.
Houston told Rolling Stone in an interview in 1993 that she had spoken to Parton on the phone and told her that she “wrote a beautiful song.”
“I think Dolly Parton is a hell of a writer and a hell of a singer. I was concerned when I sang her song how she’d feel about it, in terms of the arrangement, my licks, my flavor. When she said she was floored, that meant so much to me,” shared Houston at the time.
Ten years later, in an interview with Larry King in 2003, Parton told him, “There was a tabloid story saying that Whitney and I were in a big feud, she said it was her song and I said it was mine. None of that was ever true.”
“I was so flattered, so honored and so lucky that she did it, because the song didn’t sound like that when I had it. You know, it’s kind of like you should have heard it when I had it by myself. But she did great, and everybody has their own interpretation of a song,” she said.