Dolly Parton thought her heart would break when she heard Whitney Houston's version of her song I Will Always Love You at the tragic R&B star's funeral.
Houston recorded Parton's song for The Bodyguard soundtrack and it went on to become her signature tune - something that left the country icon "shattered" as she watched Houston's send-off in New Jersey.
She tells ABC news programme Nightline, "(It) just shattered me to hear that song played under those conditions. I thought my heart was gonna stop. It just pierced me like a knife... I can't explain that feeling, to think that that was so final for her, and that that was my words and my feeling, I would forever be so connected to her."
Parton admits she had no idea Houston had re-recorded her song until she heard it on the radio: "All of a sudden I hear this... a capella sound, I just hear this, 'If I should stay...' and it didn't register, and I thought, 'What is that...? That's my song...' but it still didn't register it was Whitney, because it was just this solo voice, and then all of a sudden it went into the 'I will always love you,' and I thought I was gonna wreck (the car). It just overwhelmed me."
But Parton will always be grateful to Kevin Costner for taking her 1972 song to producer/arranger David Foster to revamp and turn the song into an international smash hit for the Jolene singer.
She adds, "I really owe a great debt to Kevin Costner and to Whitney Houston and to David Foster. I really feel like that song belongs to all of us... I thought God was looking out for me, that it was meant to be, because how lucky was I that that got to be such a huge song.
"When Whitney did I Will Always Love You, I mean look what a grand song she made out of that simple, heartfelt... song... It was just amazing. Whitney is the one who took it worldwide and really made it a household song... so I'll always be thankful to her for that."
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