“I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston

“I Will Always Love You” is one of those classic songs whose meaning is generally misinterpreted. But in this case such is understandable given how Whitney Houston’s time-stopping vocals overshadow the specifics of what is actually being said.

How this song came about

First of all, as briefly expounded in the facts’ section, “I Will Always Love You” was written by country-music legend Dolly Parton some two decades before Whitney Houston covered her song. And Dolly wrote it concerning her relationship with a particular individual, Porter Wagoner (1927-2007). Porter was her close professional, not romantic, associate. In fact he was her partner and someone who was truly instrumental in making her a star. And Dolly had decided to go solo without him. So what the lyrics actually represent is her emotional disposition in painfully making this decision.

Is the Narrator’s relationship with the Addressee Romantic or Platonic?

But said lyrics are in fact ambiguous. That is whereas we do know the singer is parting ways with the addressee, the nature of their relationship is never specified. What we can deduce is that her decision to do so is based on her being under the impression that she is actually having a negative effect on him. Or let’s say least the implication is that her departure is actually due to unfavorable actions perpetrated by the addressee, but she feels that it is her presence which is causing him to behave so.


So that being said, the true meaning of this song is the singer beating the point home that even though she and the addressee are indeed parting ways, she “will always love” this individual. That is no matter where life takes her away from him, she will never forget this person. And even though the insinuation is that the termination of their relationship is not a pleasant affair, she is still wishing him “joy”, “happiness” and “love” in his life’s journey.

So “I Will Always Love You” is indeed a love song, though not in the usual sense. First of all its composition was not based on a romance. And secondly, even though the singer and addressee are breaking up so to speak, she is still professing that her love for him will never die.

Lyrics of "I Will Always Love You"

Who wrote “I Will Always Love You”?

This song was written by country-music superstar Dolly Parton, who released her own rendition back in 1974. And Miss Parton’s version was also quite-successful though not nearly as much as Whitney’s. For example, in 2014 the latter’s rendition became the top-selling song in history by a female artist, having sold in excess of 20-million copies globally and having garnered accolades accordingly.

Success upon Success

Moreover the song actually topped the charts in a whopping 25 nations. Actually in every nation it charted, it scored a number one. And of course it represented so on the Billboard Hot 100, UK Singles Chart, Canada Top Singles, European Hot 100, etc. But it also replicated this feat in countries as diverse as Israel, Iceland, Japan and Zimbabwe.

In terms of the Hot 100, “I Will Always Love You” set a record by holding down the top spot for 14 weeks. 

“I Will Always Love You” recharted in 2012, once again in well over 20 countries, after Whitney Houston’s death. Furthermore, it topped the iTunes charts for the United States.

In 2012 it peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. And in doing so it became one of only a handful of songs in history (only four others preceded it) to make it onto the top 10 of the Hot 100 in two completely separate runs.

And the countries in which this song has gone multi-Platinum are Australia, the UK and the US.  In fact in terms of the United States ( Houston’s homeland), “I Will Always Love You” has sold in excess of 10-million copies.

Awards Galore

Some of the more-notable awards this song has received include winning two major awards at the 36th edition of the Grammys. It won in these categories:

  • “Record of the Year”
  • “Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female”

And the latter award was presented to Whitney Houston by Dolly Parton herself.

That same year it also won a couple of American Music Awards (including Favorite Pop/Rocks Single ). And the year prior, it took home six Billboard Music Awards.

When did Whitney Houston release “I Will Always Love You”?

Houston’s version was released by Arista Records as the lead single from “The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album” on 3 November 1992. 

“The Bodyguard”

The Bodyguard” (1992) is the name of a movie in which Whitney Houston (1963-2012) actually co-starred with Kevin Costner. In fact its soundtrack set a record for being the best-selling soundtrack ever.

Interesting to note is that it was actually Costner who recommended to Whitney Houston that she cover “I Will Always Love You” for “The Bodyguard”.

The music video to this song, which of course was inspired by the movie, was directed by Nick Brandt.

Who produced Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You”?

The famed Canadian record producer and songwriter David Foster handled it.

1 Response

  1. annominous says:

    So who was Whitney singing it to…the people..it completely changed the meaning as she was supposed to be going away…not seeing them. (or him as was the original Dolly Parton version.

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