Parton reveals that Presley was a big fan of her 1970s tune and was set to head into the studio to lay down his vocals when his formidable manager, “Colonel” Tom Parker, demanded Parton surrender her entitlement to the single’s royalties.
But Parton knew the financial sacrifice was too much just to have one of her tracks covered by Presley. She told Anderson Cooper recently on his talk show, “Anderson,” “Elvis was gonna record that song, he had it ready and ‘Colonel’ Tom Parker says, ‘We have to have the publishing, or we won’t record anything.’ I said, ‘I can’t do that!’ He wanted half the publishing [rights]! … It wasn’t Elvis’ fault, it was Colonel Parker.”
Parton admits she “cried about it” after rejecting the deal, but she struck gold in 1992 when Whitney Houston’s version of the track topped charts around the world. She adds, “Then when Whitney did it, I got all the money for the publishing and for the writing, and I bought a lot of cheap wigs … with that!”