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Elvis vs. Dolly Parton

Sun May 12, 2013 12:06 pm

Hi,

Yesterday there was a TV show about famous ladies in country Music. Briefly they told stories about Patsy Cline, Tanya Tucker, Dolly Parton among others. There was also a story that Dolly Parton refused an offer from Elvis to record I Will Always Love You. To my knowledge Dolly wrote that song as a Farewell song to Porter Wagoner when she left the collaboration with him, but that's just what I
read or heard somewhere long ago. To me the song remained " unknown" for the world until Whitney Houston had a world wide hit in the movie bodyguard.
I can't imagine a male singer do this song and never heard that Elvis consider doing the song even thou Dolly and Elvis was label mates at the time at RCA. The song could have fit on the album Good Times in 1974 when Dolly recorded the song but a song Elvis could have done justis in my opinion. Can anyone put some more light into this question?

Re: Elvis vs. Dolly Parton

Sun May 12, 2013 12:52 pm

The song Elvis wanted to record was "Coat of Many Colours". The deal fell through due to "The Man who Wanted too Much Publishing".

Re: Elvis vs. Dolly Parton

Sun May 12, 2013 5:49 pm

blue boy wrote:Hi,

Yesterday there was a TV show about famous ladies in country Music. Briefly they told stories about Patsy Cline, Tanya Tucker, Dolly Parton among others. There was also a story that Dolly Parton refused an offer from Elvis to record I Will Always Love You. To my knowledge Dolly wrote that song as a Farewell song to Porter Wagoner when she left the collaboration with him, but that's just what I
read or heard somewhere long ago. To me the song remained " unknown" for the world until Whitney Houston had a world wide hit in the movie bodyguard.
I can't imagine a male singer do this song and never heard that Elvis consider doing the song even thou Dolly and Elvis was label mates at the time at RCA. The song could have fit on the album Good Times in 1974 when Dolly recorded the song but a song Elvis could have done justis in my opinion. Can anyone put some more light into this question?


For one the song was not unknown at all before Whitney recorded it.

It was a huge hit for Dolly twice, once when it was a hit single, and then when she included a new version in the hit movie
"best little whorehouse in texas".

Plus she sang it countless times on TV.

There is some debate whether Dolly remembered the correct song in which Elvis wanted to record.
And the refusal wasn't to Elvis but to Elvis' publishers, and Dolly states she cried for hours afterward because
she really wanted Elvis to record one of her songs. The offer was Elvis would record it, if she gave up the publishing rights to it.
She knew she couldn't do that, so she refused.

Re: Elvis vs. Dolly Parton

Mon May 13, 2013 2:16 am

I think Coat Of Many Colors would be very corny for Elvis and I'm glad he didn't record it. Same with Country Bumpkin. And good for Dolly, sticking to her guns on publishing. If Elvis really wanted to do the songs, he should have.

Re: Elvis vs. Dolly Parton

Mon May 13, 2013 2:27 am

blue boy wrote:Hi,

Yesterday there was a TV show about famous ladies in country Music. Briefly they told stories about Patsy Cline, Tanya Tucker, Dolly Parton among others. There was also a story that Dolly Parton refused an offer from Elvis to record I Will Always Love You. To my knowledge Dolly wrote that song as a Farewell song to Porter Wagoner when she left the collaboration with him, but that's just what I
read or heard somewhere long ago. To me the song remained " unknown" for the world until Whitney Houston had a world wide hit in the movie bodyguard.
I can't imagine a male singer do this song and never heard that Elvis consider doing the song even thou Dolly and Elvis was label mates at the time at RCA. The song could have fit on the album Good Times in 1974 when Dolly recorded the song but a song Elvis could have done justis in my opinion. Can anyone put some more light into this question?


I've posted this before, but it's worth another look:

The Parton song in question is 1971's "Coat of Many Colors."

"I Will Always Love You" is a lovely tune, but even Dolly Parton herself has misremembered which song of hers Elvis wanted to record.

It was Dolly's brilliant, achingly sentimental "Coat of Many Colors" (RCA 74-0538, October 1971) that caught Elvis' ear, reaching Billboard U.S. Country #4 on December 25, 1971.

Had publishing differences not blocked the opportunity, this piece would have been earmarked for the last excellent studio visit of Elvis' career, in March 1972 at RCA Hollywood.

"Coat of Many Colors" is a perfect fit for Elvis. He lived those lyrics, and it is a great shame he did not make a recording. Imagine how good it would have sounded at those 1972 sessions, nestled beside "Burning Love," "Always On My Mind" and "Separate Ways."

Coat Of Many Colors
Dolly Parton
© 1971 Velvet Apple Music, BMI

Back through the years I go wandering once again
Back to the seasons of my youth
I recall a box of rags that someone gave us
And how my mama put those rags to use

There were rags of many colors and every piece was small
And I didn't have a coat and it was way down in the fall
Mama sewed the rags together sewin' every piece with love
She made my coat of many colors that I was so proud of

When she sewed she told a story from the Bible she had read
'Bout a coat of many colors Joseph wore again
She said perhaps this coat will bring you good luck and happiness
And I just couldn't wait to wear it, Mama blessed it with a kiss

A coat of many colors that my mama made for me
Made only from rags but I wore it so proudly
I know we had no money but I was rich as I could be
With my coat of many colors that my mama made for me

Now with patches in my britches and holes in both my shoes
In my coat of many colors I hurried off to school
Just to find the others laughin' and makin' fun of me
In my coat of many colors my mama made for me

Now I did not understand it for I felt almost rich
And I told them of the love my mama sewed in every stitch
Then I told them all the stories mama told me while she sewed
How my coat of many colors was worth more than all their clothes

They did not understand it though I tried to make them see
That one is only poor if they choose to be
I know we had no money but I was rich as I could be
In my coat of many colors my mama made for me


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coat_of_Many_Colors_(song)


If you have not heard Dolly's rendition, you are really missing out.

Here's a beautiful 1979 performance -->

phpBB [video]

Re: Elvis vs. Dolly Parton

Mon May 13, 2013 2:30 am

Perhaps Elvis thought about covering both of those Parton songs but ultimately decided not to.

Re: Elvis vs. Dolly Parton

Mon May 13, 2013 2:36 am

brian wrote:Perhaps Elvis thought about covering both of those Parton songs but ultimately decided not to.


Nah. "Coat of Many Colors" is the song in question.

Re: Elvis vs. Dolly Parton

Mon May 13, 2013 3:26 am

Since the doctors theory is that Dolly misremembered the song, it literally could have been one of a hundred Dolly originals.

Many of Dolly's self penned songs mirror thoughts that Elvis could have had in those days.

Dolly is such a gifted songwriter, that I have been following her career as long as I have Elvis'.

Re: Elvis vs. Dolly Parton

Mon May 13, 2013 11:28 am

ekenee wrote:Since the doctors theory is that Dolly misremembered the song, it literally could have been one of a hundred Dolly originals.


Nope.

As noted, "Coat of Many Colors" was a hit for Parton just a few months before Elvis was set to return to the studio in March 1972, being her biggest single since "Joshua" made #1 ten months earlier. It was on the RCA label, another important connection. And hearing her song very likely hit to the core of his deepest sentimental feelings about his mom as it made it to #4 on Christmas Day. This was also Elvis' first Christmas without his wife in the house, as she had moved to Los Angeles with daughter Lisa.

Note that Parton had not composed anywhere near "a hundred Dolly originals" at that point in her career.

Re: Elvis vs. Dolly Parton

Mon May 13, 2013 1:36 pm

Strange that whenever I will always love you is mentioned it's said that Elvis wanted to record it yet DJC claims even Dolly misremembers which of her songs he wanted to record..So yet again he knows more than the actual person who wrote the song....now there's a surprise.

Re: Elvis vs. Dolly Parton

Mon May 13, 2013 1:44 pm

Gary1 wrote:Strange that whenever I will always love you is mentioned it's said that Elvis wanted to record it yet DJC claims even Dolly misremembers which of her songs he wanted to record..So yet again he knows more than the actual person who wrote the song....now there's a surprise.


the pieces of the puzzle fit perfectly, and more importantly make sense, i have no doubt it was COAT OF MANY COLOURS, and it isn`t the first time (or last) that a person of Dolly`s stature has just honestly forgotten the exact events during that time, by the way Dolly is great, and a incredible songwriter...the words to this song fit elvis to a tea

Re: Elvis vs. Dolly Parton

Mon May 13, 2013 5:28 pm

i dont think Elvis would have done a great job on this song, Coat of Many Colours, too many verses and words. He probably would have done verse 1 and repeated it then thats it!

Re: Elvis vs. Dolly Parton

Mon May 13, 2013 6:15 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
ekenee wrote:Since the doctors theory is that Dolly misremembered the song, it literally could have been one of a hundred Dolly originals.


Nope.

As noted, "Coat of Many Colors" was a hit for Parton just a few months before Elvis was set to return to the studio in March 1972, being her biggest single since "Joshua" made #1 ten months earlier. It was on the RCA label, another important connection. And hearing her song very likely hit to the core of his deepest sentimental feelings about his mom as it made it to #4 on Christmas Day. This was also Elvis' first Christmas without his wife in the house, as she had moved to Los Angeles with daughter Lisa.

Note that Parton had not composed anywhere near "a hundred Dolly originals" at that point in her career.


I believe your "hunch" could be true, but lets not get carried away.

We really don't have any proof, and you claim the songwriter is suffering from memory loss.

And I have no doubt Dolly had penned a hundred songs by then. But probably only half of them were released. She is a very prolific writer.

She has claimed to have published over 3000 songs at this point and claims to write every day.

My little 'hunch" has to do with the RCA connection you mention.

Since Elvis was going into the studio perhaps he had access to a dozen unreleased Dolly song demo's and picked a few out
that were not in the public yet. I know I'm thinking broadly here, but we just don't have the proof.

And Dolly really gave no time frame so it could be anywhere from 1970 to 1976 for all we know. You focused on 1972 only because

"coat of many colors" came out around that time.

I deal in facts, so long as there is documentation, if not, any thing is possible as far as I'm concerned.

Songs like "The Seeker" Elvis would have loved. Check it out, one of Dolly's best.

"in my Tennessee mt. home". A possibility. Even, "To Daddy".

Re: Elvis vs. Dolly Parton

Mon May 13, 2013 8:06 pm

Isn't it possible that Elvis heard Dolly Parton's ''I will always love you'' on country radio during 1974 and really liked the song enough to consider recording it?

He had the Today recording sessions in March 1975 so it could have been possible that he briefly flirted with the idea of recording it at those sessions.

The way Dolly tells it Colonel Parker called her on the phone to ask for the publishing specifically on ''I will always love you'' and not ''Coat of many colors'' or any other song.

Re: Elvis vs. Dolly Parton

Mon May 13, 2013 9:58 pm

brian wrote:Isn't it possible that Elvis heard Dolly Parton's ''I will always love you'' on country radio during 1974 and really liked the song enough to consider recording it?

He had the Today recording sessions in March 1975 so it could have been possible that he briefly flirted with the idea of recording it at those sessions.

The way Dolly tells it Colonel Parker called her on the phone to ask for the publishing specifically on ''I will always love you'' and not ''Coat of many colors'' or any other song.


Nope.

The Parton single release of "I Will Always Love You" was issued in the summer of 1974, and by this point Elvis was well into his "covering Olivia Newton-John" phase.

Re: Elvis vs. Dolly Parton

Mon May 13, 2013 10:32 pm

From Wikipedia:
Around the time the song reached number one on the country charts, Elvis Presley indicated that he wanted to cover the song. Parton was interested until Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, told her that it was standard procedure for the songwriter to sign over half of the publishing rights to any song Elvis recorded.[13] Parton refused, and that decision is credited with helping to make her many millions of dollars in royalties from the song over the years. After being re-released in 1982, the track once again peaked at number one on Hot Country Songs, making Parton the first artist ever to earn a number one record twice with the same song.[1] After recording a duet with Vince Gill in 1995, "I Will Always Love You" re-entered the Billboard chart and peaked at number 15.[14]

From the Belfast Telegraph 2007:

Dolly wasn't parton with hit song

By: Joan McGurk
Source: Belfast Telegraph
March 26, 2007 - 9:40:00 AM
Elvis News

Dolly Parton knocked back advances from Elvis Presley's people to record one of her most famous songs, I Will Always Love You.
Dolly turned down the tempting offer after discovering that she would have to sign over half of the publishing rights for the song.
The big-hearted little lady from Smoky Mountain, Tennessee stood up to Presley's management and put the welfare of her family ahead of fame and fortune with Elvis.
She remembered: 'Elvis loved I Will Always Love You and wanted to record it. I got the word that he was going to record it and I was so excited'.
But her dream date with Elvis was abruptly cancelled after Presley's formidable manager, 'Colonel' Tom Parker demanded that she sign over 50pc of the publishing royalties to them.
Said Dolly: 'I was really quiet. I said, 'well, now it's already been a hit (for me). I wrote it and I've already published it. And this is the stuff I'm leaving for my family, when I'm dead and gone.
''That money goes in for stuff for my brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews. So I can't give up half the publishing'. And he said, 'well then, we can't record it''.
More than 30 years later, Dolly's mixture of emotions about what could have been, is always on her mind.
Added the 61-year-old writer of more than 3,000 songs: 'I cried all night. 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 didn't do it.
'But I always wondered what it would sound like. I know he'd kill it. But anyway, so he didn't. Then, when Whitney (Houston's version) came out, I made enough money to buy Graceland!' she laughed.
Dolly's decision to retain complete ownership of that song turned out to be one the wisest moves she ever made.
She has enjoyed major chart success with it three times, while Houston's version is the biggest selling single of all time by a female artist - earning Parton more than $$6m.

From MTV, quoting Dolly from The Letterman show:

http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1679201/whitney-houston-i-will-always-love-you.jhtml

An interview with the lady herself:

http://watch.accesshollywood.com/video/access-extended:-why-did-dolly-parton-turn-down-elvis-presley/1320761373001

In the interview, she knows it was Felton who called her, seems certain of her facts, and it's very arrogant of anyone here to say she must be misremembering, just because they don't think Elvis would have liked the song, or that it's 1974 instead of 72. Dolly seems like a smart cookie, and I'd take her word every time. It's her song, and she was there!!

Re: Elvis vs. Dolly Parton

Mon May 13, 2013 11:35 pm

DarrylMac wrote:In the interview, she knows it was Felton who called her, seems certain of her facts, and it's very arrogant of anyone here to say she must be misremembering, just because they don't think Elvis would have liked the song, or that it's 1974 instead of 72. Dolly seems like a smart cookie, and I'd take her word every time. It's her song, and she was there!!


Yes, and that's why there is nothing about it in the Presley histories to date, a song that gained fame a second time in the 1990s, yet even then it prompted no one close to Elvis to recall his desire to record it.

Feel free to be as rude as you wish, but the "they were there" argument has been proven to be fallible again and again, both n terms of Presley history and in terms of general research. "Coat of Many Colors" fits the bill in so many ways, as I have already clearly outlined, that unless something incontrovertible comes to light, this is very likely the song in question.

Common sense also helps. ;-)

Re: Elvis vs. Dolly Parton

Tue May 14, 2013 12:42 am

I never heard of ''I will always love you'' ever being scheduled to be recorded or that Elvis ever came close to recording it except from Dolly Parton.

I saw Dolly Parton on the Joy Behar show a few years ago saying Felton Jarvis invited her to the recording session to watch Elvis record it.

This would have been the Today Sessions.

Re: Elvis vs. Dolly Parton

Tue May 14, 2013 1:28 am

Just a few weeks before the Presley sessions in March 1972, RCA artist Dolly Parton was in Nashville to accept her many 1971 Billboard Country Awards, on WSM-TV's "Noon Show," along with other artists, like Kris Kristofferson and Sonny James, and record industry executives. That might have been a good time for Felton Jarvis to invite her to see a session where Elvis tried out "Coat of Many Colors."




Billboard Mar 11 1972 p49.JPG
Billboard - March 11, 1972




Billboard Mar 11 1972 p50.JPG
Billboard - March 11, 1972
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Re: Elvis vs. Dolly Parton

Tue May 14, 2013 1:35 am

Yeah hearing elvis sing about Rags would be cooll!! yet we terminate my boy when somebody mentiones it.

Re: Elvis vs. Dolly Parton

Tue May 14, 2013 1:45 am

What has the article you posted Doc, interesting though it is, got to do with what we're discussing here? It still doesn't prove or disprove any song ELvis may or may not have wanted to record. She filmed an episode of Hee Haw which aired Feb 15th 75, where she sang I Wil Always Love You. Does that make it likely Elvis saw it on TV, decided to record it and had Felton make the call for the MArch 75 session? We'll never know...

unless something incontrovertible comes to light


Other than the repeated story told first hand by the person concerned? Essentially, the argument seems to be Dolly must be lying because you feel Elvis would have preferred The Coat Of Many Colours? Never mind that Elvis' taste could change day by day - no-one can know now what was in Elvis mind at the time, so in the absence of any evidence whatsover, I'll take the version Dolly tells, as she seems to have no motive to claim anything different. It's not like she needed the publicity to sell a few more copies of I Will Always Love You!

Re: Elvis vs. Dolly Parton

Tue May 14, 2013 5:35 am

DarrylMac wrote:What has the article you posted Doc, interesting though it is, got to do with what we're discussing here? It still doesn't prove or disprove any song ELvis may or may not have wanted to record. She filmed an episode of Hee Haw which aired Feb 15th 75, where she sang I Wil Always Love You. Does that make it likely Elvis saw it on TV, decided to record it and had Felton make the call for the MArch 75 session? We'll never know...

unless something incontrovertible comes to light


Other than the repeated story told first hand by the person concerned? Essentially, the argument seems to be Dolly must be lying because you feel Elvis would have preferred The Coat Of Many Colours? Never mind that Elvis' taste could change day by day - no-one can know now what was in Elvis mind at the time, so in the absence of any evidence whatsover, I'll take the version Dolly tells, as she seems to have no motive to claim anything different. It's not like she needed the publicity to sell a few more copies of I Will Always Love You!


Christ, take a chill pill already. No one has called anyone a liar.

I have neatly laid out my argument. If you find some of it too opaque, that's a darn shame.

Much more evidence connects the 1971 single to an Elvis session than the later recording. Period.

Listen to the two songs, understand the history, and use your common sense. It's not rocket science. ;-)

P.S. "Hee-Haw" was never filmed, it was always videotaped.

Hee Haw logo.JPG
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Re: Elvis vs. Dolly Parton

Tue May 14, 2013 2:10 pm

nod3million wrote:i dont think Elvis would have done a great job on this song, Coat of Many Colours, too many verses and words. He probably would have done verse 1 and repeated it then thats it!


I disagree. Given a song he truly believed in--such as the beautiful "Coat Of Many Colors"--Elvis would've stepped up and knocked it out of the park. It was a perfect fit for him. "I Will Always Love You," while a fantastic song, would not have been nearly as good a fit for Elvis, if at all.

Re: Elvis vs. Dolly Parton

Tue May 14, 2013 3:26 pm

KHoots wrote:
nod3million wrote:i dont think Elvis would have done a great job on this song, Coat of Many Colours, too many verses and words. He probably would have done verse 1 and repeated it then thats it!


I disagree. Given a song he truly believed in--such as the beautiful "Coat Of Many Colors"--Elvis would've stepped up and knocked it out of the park. It was a perfect fit for him. "I Will Always Love You," while a fantastic song, would not have been nearly as good a fit for Elvis, if at all.


Well said KHoots! We saw how committed he was to I'm Leavin.

Re: Elvis vs. Dolly Parton

Tue May 14, 2013 4:00 pm

Hey, it could have been both.....

What’s the story about Elvis Presley wanting to record the song? (I Will Always Love You)

Elvis loved the song. I never met Elvis and there were many times I could have. I don’t know why I didn’t, I think I just wanted him to always be the way he was in my mind. I had met some people that I wish I hadn’t, you know what I mean? Not that you wish you hadn’t, but he was just so special, he was so spiritual and out there anyway, I didn’t want nothing to blow the image. So I just wouldn’t meet him. Jarvis was producing him at the time, and Felton was a friend of mine. So often, when Elvis would come to town, they would tell me. I would always say, “Maybe next time he’s in town I’ll meet him.” And so they would always let me know when he was in town, and I’d always make an excuse (laughs) not to go down there to the recording studio.

But at any rate, he had heard that song and he loved it. He was here recording and he wanted to do it, so they notified me and I was so excited. So, the next thing they said was, “But you know Elvis has to have half the publishing on the song. Everything he records, unless it’s already a standard, he has to have half the publishing.” I said, “Well, I’m really sorry, but I don’t give my publishing to nobody. Not half of it, not 10 percent of it, not any of it.” I had just started my own publishing company, and I said, “If he loves the song and the song is that good, then he’ll record it anyway. And if he don’t, well just say that I’m flattered with the thought.”

But I would not give up the publishing, and thank God I didn’t, because that song made me more money than all of the others put together. If I’d given up half the publishing then I would’ve made half the money, plus I would’ve lost half the pride in it. The fact that I wrote the song by myself and published it myself just made the whole thing more special. It was not something you had to share.

It sounds like it was the Colonel’s idea.

To be honest, it was. They say that Elvis didn’t know that much about that kind of stuff. He wasn’t that involved in the business side of it, but Colonel Tom was. It was Felton, who was producing him at the time, that called me about it, and I said “No.” And I never was sorry. I would have loved to hear him do it. He also loved “Coat Of Many Colors,” but I wouldn’t give up the publishing on that either.


Interview with Bill DeMain