Country music legend Dolly Parton is receiving plaudits after she revealed what she did with the royalty money she received from Whitney Houston’s rendition of “I Will Always Love You.” It was a touching homage to the singer who passed away almost ten years ago.
The Washington Post reported:
Parton, who is estimated to have earned millions of dollars in royalties for writing the song in 1973, revealed this week how she spent her money from the songwriting credit for Houston, who died in 2012: She invested in a building located in a historically Black Nashville neighborhood.
During an interview with Andy Cohen on “Watch What Happens Live,” Parton said:
“I bought my big office complex down in Nashville, and so I thought, ‘Well, this is a wonderful place to be.'”
The revelation came when Cohen asked about the best purchase she made from the royalties she earned from the song. She explained that she chose a building in a place that was then known as Sevier Park, a predominantly black community. She said:
“It was a whole strip mall, and I thought this is the perfect place for me to be, considering it was Whitney, so I just thought, ‘This is great, I’m just going to be down here with her people, who are my people as well.'”
She continued, saying that she loves “the fact that I spent that money on a complex and I think, ‘This is the house that Whitney built.’”
Parton earned over $10 million in royalties from Houston’s rendition of the song, which had previously been a hit. The singer wrote the song in 1973 as a B-side on one of her albums. The Post noted that her version was a “country music success” and reached number one on Billboard’s country charts two times, “the first in 1974 and again in 1982” when she recorded the song again for the soundtrack to “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.”
However, the song truly took off when Houston recorded her version of the song for “The Bodyguard” soundtrack. Parton in particular was blown away by Houston’s performance, telling Oprah Winfrey last year that she had to pull off the road when she was driving because she was afraid she would “wreck.” She said:
“I could not believe how she did that. I mean, how beautiful it was that my little song had turned into that, so that was a major, major thing.”
Parton purchased the 6,317-square-foot Mission-style complex in Nashville in February 1997, according to property records. David Ewing, a longtime Nashville historian, told The Washington Post that Parton’s investment came when many recording artists did not look toward the Sevier Park neighborhood, now known as 12 South, to set up their businesses.
Ewing also told the Post:
“Dolly Parton could have built and bought any piece of property in Nashville. But you would have to have gone out of your way to buy in the 12 South neighborhood, because no Realtor would have shown Dolly that lot to buy.”
He also stated that the town “began to be put on the map when Dolly quietly invested in the area.”
Parton is no stranger to the world of philanthropy. She has donated to a number of worthy causes.
Houston would likely have appreciated Parton’s decision to invest in a black community, as she was also big on philanthropy. She donated to a number of different causes, many of which were designed to uplift the black community.
What’s even more admirable is the fact that Parton never spoke of what she did until she was asked. She allowed it to be a secret, instead of bragging about it. It’s yet another example showing that Parton is truly a class act.