Dolly Parton’s Investment Honoring Whitney Houston

Dplly Parton & Whitney Houston

Dolly Parton is known for her big hair, big voice, and…big heart.

A Tennessean renowned for her talent and her unashamed accentuation of her God-given gifts, we’ll say, shows us the good we can all be by sowing into others.

Many still don’t know of a strip mall in a Nashville neighborhood, located in a predominantly African American community Dolly purchased as an investment in the Black community. Sowing seeds into needs using the $10 million in profits from her song, “I Will Always Love You,” sang by the unmatched voice of Whitney Houston and the lead song of the movie, The Bodyguard, Tennessee’s treasure demonstrated, and still does, the Law of the Harvest.

The Sevier County native originally recorded her song on June 13, 1973, and included it on the album, Jolene, after a professional parting-of-the ways of the lyrical duo she had with the country music legend, Porter Waggoner. When released as a country single in 1974, the song was #1 for that genre with little thought of its massive appeal worldwide to come.

As filmmakers and producers of the award-winning movie starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner were assembling the movie’s music, the song originally selected for the finale, “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted,” was featured in the movie Fried Green Tomatoes, out at the same time.

It was actually Kevin Costner who suggested Dolly’s song as a replacement and reached out to the Queen of Country Music as one of the producers, actor, and friend. Dolly recalls the phone conversation conveying the “honor” she’d experience should that happen. 

And, indeed, it happened. In the 2020 interview with Oprah Winfrey for her Apple+ show, The Oprah Conversation, Dolly tells of her first hearing the lyrics she penned performed by Whitney Houston on the radio. “My heart just started to beat so fast and then when she got into ‘I Will Always Love You,’ when that opened up, and I realized that was my song, it was the most overwhelming thing.”

Parton reminisced of her driving from downtown Nashville to her home in Brentwood and having to pull off the road in her commute, hearing the power of Whitney Houston’s rendition of the ballad. “I was shot so full of adrenaline and energy, I had to pull off, because I was afraid that I would wreck, so I pulled over quick as I could to listen to that whole song. I could not believe how she did that. I mean, how beautiful it was that my little song had turned into that, so that was a major, major thing.”

The Voice, as Ms. Houston was rightfully nicknamed, had brought back to life lyrics of a rags-to-riches Tennessean. That new life brought profits, and characteristic of the petite powerhouse born in a one-room cabin on the banks of the Pigeon River to poor parents with 11 living siblings, those profits were invested in an area of Nashville needing economic life.

Planting seeds brings harvest. Be a sower, like Dolly.