Back in 1973, the world of country music witnessed a significant moment when Dolly Parton decided to embark on her solo career, leaving her successful partnership with Porter Wagoner. During this time, she penned the iconic ballad, “I Will Always Love You,” as well as another hit, “Jolene,” on the very same day. Released in 1974, “I Will Always Love You” swiftly climbed to the top of Billboard’s ‘Hot Country Songs’ chart, becoming one of the year’s best-selling singles.
However, what happened next added a fascinating chapter to music history.
In June of that year, as “I Will Always Love You” claimed its throne on the country chart, the legendary Elvis Presley expressed his desire to record a cover of the song. Dolly Parton was understandably thrilled. Elvis was not only the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll but also one of her musical idols. However, her excitement was short-lived as Elvis’s manager, Col. Tom Parker, revealed that it was customary for songwriters to relinquish half of the publishing rights for any song recorded by Elvis.
In a bittersweet moment, Dolly Parton found herself torn between her admiration for Elvis and her principles as a songwriter.
In an interview with CMT, she reminisced about that pivotal moment: “I said, ‘I’m really sorry,’ and I cried all night. I mean, it was like the worst thing. You know, it’s like, ‘Oh, my God … Elvis Presley.’ And other people were saying, ‘You’re nuts. It’s Elvis Presley. I mean, hell, I’d give him all of it.’ I said, ‘I can’t do that. Something in my heart says, ‘Don’t do that.’ And I just didn’t do it, and they just didn’t do it. But I always wondered what it would sound like. I know he’d kill it. Don’t you? He would have killed it. But anyway, so he didn’t. Then when Whitney [Houston’s version] came out, I made enough money to buy Graceland.”
This captivating anecdote, shared by Dolly Parton herself during her “Hello, I’m Dolly” Tour in 2004, has intrigued music enthusiasts for years. Many have wondered how Elvis’s rendition of the song would have sounded.
In our modern era, fueled by advancements in artificial intelligence, the curiosity about this hypothetical duet came to life.
A creative AI enthusiast, known as NoPeakMeat on YouTube, decided to make this musical dream a reality. Using AI technology, they not only crafted a rendition of “I Will Always Love You” that weaves together the voices of Dolly Parton and Elvis Presley but also transformed it into a heartfelt duet.
This AI-generated duet allows us to experience a musical moment that never occurred in reality but lives on in the world of technology and imagination. It’s a testament to the power of music and the creative possibilities that AI brings to the table. You can listen to this remarkable duet and immerse yourself in the magic of what could have been—a collaboration between two iconic voices in the world of music.