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Houston Makes 'Love' That Will Last hide



Whitney Houston's No. 1 song, I Will Always Love You - from The Bodyguard soundtrack - is shaping up as a long-lived smash.

Dolly Parton wrote the song and took it to the top of the country charts in 1974 and 1982. She stands to earn a cool million from the remake.

The ballad, No. 1 for three weeks on the Hot 100 chart, has sold 400,000 copies in the past week. It also tops the R&B chart. The soundtrack rules the pop and R&B album charts.

"It's going to stay No. 1 for a very long time," says Billboard's Michael Ellis. "It's so far ahead of all the other records in sales and airplay."

Arista Records chief Clive Davis says the single has sold 2.85 million copies and is No. 1 in Hong Kong and Britain.

Parton sent congratulations to Houston, and Davis says she asked to use Houston's version in her stage show. The song is "about change and separation and love," Parton says. "And I guess that's why it's still a favorite after nearly 20 years."

The divas' differences spark debate. "Whitney's version is much better because it's geared toward a lot of different audiences, not just country," says Atlanta DJ Jerry "Smokin' B." Rupper, of WVEE-FM.

Bill Worthington of Washington, D.C.'s WMZQ-FM says he's getting requests for both, but plays Parton's. "It's a dance-with-the-one-that-brung-you kind of thing."

Parton's longtime partner, Porter Wagoner , says she wrote the song after he urged her to stop writing songs about "Mama's old black kettle. I said, 'Write a song about love, one that everyone in the world could connect with.'"

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