Dolly Parton Wrote An Unreleased Song about Elvis Presley Called ‘I Dreamed of Elvis’
via AXS TV / Youtube
Dolly Parton, although more associated with country music than Elvis Presley, still found the singer to be an inspiration. Presley had a significant impact on Parton’s musical journey, and she was delighted to have caught his attention early in her career. Despite never having met the renowned rock ‘n’ roll icon, she wrote a song about him that remains unreleased.
A Missed Opportunity
Meeting Elvis had always been a desire of Parton’s, but it never happened. The closest she came to encountering the “Heartbreak Hotel” singer was when he expressed interest in recording a cover of her song “I Will Always Love You.”
Unfortunately, she had to decline the offer because Presley’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker, insisted on having either all or at least half of the publishing rights. In an interview with Yahoo! Entertainment, Parton expressed regret that the collaboration couldn’t come to fruition. Parton explained:
“I didn’t know Elvis. I never met him.
“I was going to meet him for the first time when he was coming to the studio to sing ‘I Will Always Love You,’ which didn’t work out, as you know, because Colonel Tom Parker, his manager, wanted half the publishing. But when he was going to do my song, I was gonna meet him, and I’m sorry, I didn’t get to meet him.”
The Uncredited Origin of ‘I Will Always Love You’
Whitney Houston later covered “I Will Always Love You,” delivering a powerful vocal performance that made the song immensely popular. As a result, many people are unaware that Parton originally wrote it. Despite that, Parton would have loved to hear Presley’s rendition and even composed a song imagining what it could have been like. She shared:
“If it had been a new song, if I’d had just written something for [Elvis Presley], I might have reconsidered that.
“I’ve still always wanted him to sing it. I wrote a song later called ‘I Dreamed About Elvis’, and it was about dreaming about Elvis singing that song. And I had an Elvis soundalike to come in and sing the Elvis part, and it sounds great! Maybe one day I’ll put that out.”
Although Parton never personally knew Presley, she felt a deep connection to him. In a 1978 interview with Playboy, Parton revealed that she related to Presley on multiple levels. She saw him as “very loving, very emotional, very sensitive, very giving, very humble, thankful, grateful.”
However, the aspect of Presley’s character that resonated with Parton the most was his faith. Parton said:
“How he felt about God and religion was always somethin’ I related to a lot, because I know he was brought up with his mother in the Assembly of God.
“It was a real free-spirited, shoutin’ church. I watched and heard how he reacted to Gospel music and how he loved that the best of all and how he almost seemed to feel he had a callin’ to do somethin’ different and maybe more spiritual than what he actually was doin’, but you know, he never got a chance to try.”