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Dolly Parton Invested in Black Neighborhood with Royalties from Whitney Houston's Cover of 'I Will Always Love You'

Make no mistake. “I Will Always Love You” was written by Dolly Parton, but it is, always and forever
will be Whitney Houston’s song.

Courtesy RCA Records 
The country music legend admitted as much in a 2020 interview with Oprah Winfrey,

“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,” Parton recounted to Winfrey hearing Houston’s version on the radio for the first time. “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.”

So, it’s only fitting that the queen of country music, honored one of the leading ladies of soul by investing profits from the massive hit – Houston’s cover for the 1992 film The Bodyguard, which she also starred in alongside Kevin Costner, earned Parton $10 million in royalties in the 1990s alone according to Forbes — into the black community. 

During an appearance Thursday on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen the 75-year-old icon revealed she had invested the money from her songwriting credit in a building in a historically Black Nashville neighborhood when asked, "What is the best thing that you bought or invested in with money from your 'I Will Always Love You' royalties?"

“I bought my big office complex down in Nashville, and so, 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. And it was just off the beaten path from 16th Avenue. And I thought, well, I am gonna buy this place," she replied, adding. "It was a whole strip mall. And I thought, this is the perfect place for me to be, considering it was Whitney. And so, I just thought this was great. I'm just gonna be down here with her people, who are my people as well. And so, I just love the fact that I spent that money on a complex, and I think, this is the house that Whitney built!"

The revelation should come as no surprise for fans of the 10-time Grammy winner, who has come out in support of Black Lives Matter in recent years and has a reputation for charity and being unproblematic that dates back decades.

Still, it’s a nice gesture and fitting tribute for Houston who died tragically in 2012 at the age of 48, accidentally drowning in her hotel bathtub.

Parton, who wrote the song in 1972 on the same day she wrote "Jolene," another one of her major hits, saw her version reach No. 1 on the Billboard’s country charts twice (1974, 1982) also said she would have loved to perform the hit with Houston during the interview but she had no illusions as to whose voice would stand out on that duet.

“I would've loved that, but I don't think I could come up to snuff with her though. She would've outsung me on that one for sure," she said. 

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