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5 things you didn’t know about the song “I Will Always Love You”

TORONTO –The late legendary singer Whitney Houston has re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart this week, as her famous rendition of “I Will Always Love You” lands at the number seven spot.

The Grammy-winning singer died last week at a hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. Officials say she was underwater and apparently unconscious when she was pulled from a bathtub. Houston’s funeral will be held this Saturday at New Hope Baptist Church in New Jersey, where she sang as a child.

As “I Will Always Love You” continues to soar in sales and on the charts, we take a look at five things you probably did not know about Houston’s signature power ballad. 

Dolly Parton wrote the song: Yes, the song that helped make Houston a household name was actually penned by country music legend Dolly Parton in 1973. Upon its release, the song reached the number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart-making it one of the best selling singles of 1974.

The song is about a breakup: Sure, the title of the song “I Will Always Love You” is misleading, but if you actually take the time to read the lyrics, you will realize you are better off playing Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name” or J. Geils Band’s “Love Stinks” at your wedding reception. Yet, Houston’s ballad is still one of the top songs chosen by couples as their “first dance” wedding song.

We’re not quite sure why.

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Here’s an excerpt of the lyrics below:
Bittersweet memories
that is all I’m taking with me.
So, goodbye. Please, don’t cry.
We both know I’m not what you, you need.
 

 

 

In an article listing the top 100 love songs for weddings, Australia’s online magazine for weddings, mag.weddingcentral.com, ranks the song as number three in the ‘Top 10 Extra Cheesy Love Song’ list. “These songs may sound cheesy, but they are almost a prerequisite for any wedding” says the category subhead. Take our advice, skip playing the song at your wedding and make it the anthem at the next “You were not that into [insert name here] anyway” breakup party you attend.
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In fact, the song isn’t even about an amorous breakup. Parton wrote the song as a farewell to her producer and long-time duet partner, Porter Wagoner. The pair was apparently never romantically involved.
 

Kevin Costner forced the song into the movie “The Bodyguard”: Yep, the song that you keep hearing over and over (and over) since Houston’s death almost didn’t make into the film, “The Bodyguard.” The big finale of the movie was supposed to be the cover of “What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted” but once actor Kevin Costner heard the song was being used in another movie, he introduced Linda Ronstadt’s version of Parton’s tune. Even though Houston’s producer rearranged the song as a soul ballad, the singer’s record company didn’t think a song with “an a cappella introduction” would be a success. Eventually, all sides agreed. And, as they say, the rest is history.


 

Elvis Presley wanted to record the tune: The “King of Rock and Roll” wanted to record a cover of the song but Presley’s manager, Tom Parker, demanded half of the publishing royalties. Upon the request, Parton refused the offer. The singer later commented: “I think stories like that are the reason why younger female artists say I’ve influenced them.”


 

Saddam Hussein was a fan: Many people might be surprised that an Iraqi leader convicted of crimes against humanity-and consequently sentenced to death by hanging on December 30, 2006-would have a soft spot for an American ballad.

In 2002, Hussein allegedly used “I Will Always Love You” as his re-election theme song. Reports state Hussein used an Arabic cover of the song, sung by Syrian pop star Mayyada Bselees. The ballad is said to have been broadcasted on several radio and TV ads.

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Listen to Bselees’ version below: 

– With a file from The Associated Press

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