Dolly Parton Invested Her 'I Will Always Love You' Royalties Into A Black Community
Dolly Parton invested royalties from Whitney Houston’s chart-topping “I Will Always Love You”
What isn’t there to love about Dolly Parton? The country star is playful (like when she recreated her 1978 Playboy shoot for her hubby’s birthday this year), has dedicated a lot of time and money to making books accessible to all children, and oh yeah, she writes ballads and tunes that withstand the test of time. There are literally dozens of other reasons why we love Dolly so much, and now we have yet another reason to celebrate the singer and philanthropist.
For those unfamiliar, Parton has penned more than 5,000 songs over the span of her career. The prolific songwriter first wrote “I Will Always Love You,” in 1973, but it wasn’t until Whitney Houston covered it in 1992 for her film The Bodyguard that it became the timeless ballad that we know it as today.
Parton earned a hefty amount of royalties for Houston’s cover. Forbes reports that she raked in a whopping $10 million during the ’90s in the song’s heyday, and she still makes royalties off it to this day. So what the heck does a woman do with that much money? The singer went on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen and revealed her most prized investment she made with all that royalty cash.
“I bought my big office complex down in Nashville. So I thought, ‘Well, this is a wonderful place to be,’” she explained to Cohen. “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 off the beaten path from 16th avenue. And I thought, ‘well I am going to buy this place, the whole strip mall.’ And thought, ‘this is the perfect place for me to be,’ considering it was Whitney.”
Despite some rumors that Houston and Parton had some misunderstandings, Dolly has praised Whitney’s version of the karaoke power ballad staple on numerous occasions throughout the years. In November 2020, Parton spoke with Oprah Winfrey on The Oprah Conversation on Apple+ TV and said that she had to pull off the road when she first heard Houston’s rendition of the song because she was so moved by it.
“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.”