Whitney Houston cover of Dolly Parton‘s “I Will Love You” became one of the ’90s biggest anthems — and we can partly thank Patti LaBelle for it.
The Godmother of Soul, 75, appeared on Monday’s Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, where she revealed on the After Show that Parton had offered the song to her before Houston sang it in 1992’s The Bodyguard.
“I said to Dolly, ‘Oh yes, I want to do that song, honey!’ ” LaBelle recalled to Cohen. “But before I could say real yes, it was in the movie and Whitney killed it.”
“I was so happy Whitney got that song and it just went like it did. But Dolly Parton and I had planned. ‘Patti, you’re going to sing that song,’ ” LaBelle added. “Next! That’s how show-business is!”
Houston, who died in 2012 at the age of 48, would go on to find great success with “I Will Always Love You” — a song Parton originally wrote and recorded in 1973 as a farewell to her former partner, Porter Wagoner.
Her version spent 14 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100; won Houston the 1993 Grammy Award for record of the year and best female pop vocal performance; and is considered one of the best-selling singles of all time.
Since then, plenty of other artists have covered “I Will Always Love You,” but LaBelle said she hasn’t out of respect for Whitney.
“That was my little girl. She was so phenomenal,” LaBelle raved about Houston, adding that she plans to put the song in her show as a tribute to Houston “one day.”
Meanwhile, though LaBelle hasn’t yet sung “I Will Always Love You,” she very well could be the one behind a recent Parton cover.
Fans have been speculating that LaBelle is one of the mysterious contestants on season 2 of Fox’s The Masked Singer — specifically the Flower, who sang Parton’s “9 to 5” during her first outing on the show.
We would be really interested in hearing Patti’s version.