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Did Dolly Parton dis Whitney Houston?

AP photo

AP photo

Soon after learning of the death of Whitney Houston, singer and songwriter Dolly Parton posted a comment on her blog:

“Mine is only one of the millions of hearts broken over the death of Whitney Houston. I will always be grateful and in awe of the wonderful performance she did on my song, and I can truly say from the bottom of my heart, Whitney, I will always love you. You will be missed.”

She tweeted out the link to the message on her Twitter account, adding the hash tags, #iwillalwaysloveyou and #whitney.

Does that sound like a dis to you? It apparently did to someone.

TMZ reports that Parton “is eating her words” and “took a lot of flack” (from who, it’s not clear) for labeling the song “hers.”

Parton, who spent time in Atlanta last year filming the movie “Joyful Noise,” did pen the song, in the 1970s, although Houston’s cover of it, for the “Bodyguard” movie soundtrack, is no doubt the better-known version. It was the song that Jennifer Hudson sang in Houston’s honor at the Grammy Awards.

TMZ says Parton is “loosening her grip” on the song and sent them a statement saying, “I did not know Whitney, nor any of her family personally; but she will always be a part of my heart and I will always be grateful for her awesome performance and success with our song.”

Do you think any apology or clarification was necessary here?

- Jennifer Brett/The Buzz/jbrett@ajc.com

230 comments Add your comment

Give it a break

February 17th, 2012
4:13 pm

Give it a break woman. Just what makes you think there is that much interest in a dead drug addict?

We would rather hear about John Travolta dropping a deuce at the Varsity than more Whitney Houston news. Your love for Houston is bordering on obsessive.

Tabitha

February 17th, 2012
4:15 pm

NO! It is Dolly’s SONG! She wrote it and had a #1 hit TWICE before Whitney ever recorded it.

caseymcsmith

February 17th, 2012
4:15 pm

Well, Dolly DID write it! Why can’t she call it her song?

carla roqs

February 17th, 2012
4:16 pm

dannnng Jennifer, you really went there, hunh? honestly, that statement struck me as a little…hard…as well. whew. when will this all end? you made me come out of retirement with this one.

jenny costantino

February 17th, 2012
4:16 pm

That was not a dis.
And it is, was, and always will be Dolly’s song.
The end.

Pumpkin Jones

February 17th, 2012
4:43 pm

It was Dolly’s song, but Whitney or her label had to pay dearly fo the right’s to record the song. Luckily, it was a hit for her, (so it was a good investment for Whitney and a good business decision for Dolly, as Dolly ( or her estate when she passes) will always get royalties from her original song, and Whitney’s version. Whitney’s estate will also reap the benefits of a classic song. Just know this song was a number one hit for Dolly Parton Twice, Whitney only once, and this was before the internet, twitter, facebook, etc!!! Also, if I must say so myself, Dolly is the ORIGINAL DIVA and has not let her fame, fortune, celebrity, nor substance take her down. Her strong faith has kept her from temptation and evil. Keep it real. Dolly we will always LOVE YOU!

Zeny

February 17th, 2012
4:44 pm

Without Dolly creating the song, there is no song. It’s like a parent saying “my child.” She has nothing to apologize for.

E

February 17th, 2012
4:52 pm

Song belongs to Dolly Parton. The end. Think people always write there own music? Time after Time, and Girls Just Want to Have Fun were sung by Cyndi Lauper, and made millions, but she certainly did not write them. Same as Joan Osborne’s “What if God was once of us”. Those are three of thousands of hit songs that were not written by a performer.

Skegeeace

February 17th, 2012
5:49 pm

Leave that poor woman alone! It WAS her song *first*. I’m sure she didn’t mean anything by it.

William Hung

February 17th, 2012
6:09 pm

“She Bangs” will always belong to me.

Albprat

February 17th, 2012
6:10 pm

The main thing I am surprised about is that dolly and Whitney never met can that be? No dis happened, it is Dolly’s song and she knows how important Whitney’s version is.

ron

February 17th, 2012
6:12 pm

Ms. Brett
You’re full of it.When will the ajc dish you for creating animosity.I’m a huge fan of Whitney’s and I see no disrespect aimed anywhere.

td

February 17th, 2012
6:14 pm

Sounds like more idiots out there that understand nothing about intellectual property or royalties. This is Dolly’s song, she wrote it and has all the rights to it because it is her intellectual property. Whitney paid Dolly for the right to sing her song and every time you hear the song in the future just say chi ching because Dolly just made another dollar on her song.

Fred ™

February 17th, 2012
6:15 pm

Dolly was very gracious considering how drug ho Whitney acted after she sang the song that Dolly wrote. Did Whitney do a great job? Hell yeah, does the Pope wear a funny hat? But Whitney was really stupid about it. She could have shown more class, but then she never HAD any class. Dolly needs apologize for nothing.

One of the most talented singers is dead because she was a druggie and never followed through on her talent and I’m supposed to be……. what?

Patricia Rathbun

February 17th, 2012
6:15 pm

I see nothing wrong with Dolly’s comments – she wrote the song, and she was just thanking a fellow singer for doing a good job of it. Case closed, she has shown nothing but respect for Whitney.

KA

February 17th, 2012
6:15 pm

Dolly offered a tribute to Whitney, so what was the dis? The people who dissed Whitney were her entourage, who ignored or facilitated her drug and alcohol abuse. Why didn’t her family and friends intervene? They all bear some responsibility in Whitney’s death?

Crass Realist

February 17th, 2012
6:17 pm

Obviously, Dolly Parton is a racist. How dare a bigoted old white woman claim ownership of something that was lifted by a proud African-American woman who would have written it herself if she hadn’t been held down?

I heard she was in the midst of writing a catchy little tune titled “CRACK IS WHACK” when she offed herself.

Enough of deifying a talented person who literally blew it…very sad indeed…

I’m just sayin’…

J. J.

February 17th, 2012
6:18 pm

Dolly was most appropriate and sympathetic…DO NOT TRY TO MAKE SOMETHING FROM A SINCERE COMMENT.
Love everyone and pray for the souls of those gone to eternal rest.

Porter Wagner

February 17th, 2012
6:18 pm

People get sensitive when their kinfolk die. Dolly handled it just right.

Ella

February 17th, 2012
6:18 pm

I sickens me that people can’t even say the truth anymore, let alone what’s on their minds without being called out by some half-wit jackass. Of course it’s Dolly’s song and this is a NON ISSUE people.

Dave

February 17th, 2012
6:21 pm

I find the intimations made in the body of your column to be out of sync with the copyright standards generally accepted in the publishing industry.

carlchamblee

February 17th, 2012
6:23 pm

Can I defend Ms. Brett here by saying that she was NOT saying that Dolly dissed Whitney.

She was merely reporting the fact that TMZ claimed that OTHERS accused her if the dis.

Ms Brett’s actually inferred that she didn’t agree with the TMZ claim.

atl_native

February 17th, 2012
6:24 pm

It’s Dolly’s song covered by Whitney. My father loved watching Dolly sit on that swing and sing the song at the end of her show that came one before hee haw. I think I was 5 or 6. He died in ‘84 and never got the chance to hear Whitney’s cover. I don’t think Dolly was dissing anyone.

caroline

February 17th, 2012
6:26 pm

I would think that Whitney was so grateful to Dolly for the chance to sing her song. Whitney would not have sung the song without Dolly writing it… Give me a break!!!! This was a WIN WIN!! And I guarantee that Whitney would claim it her song if she had written it!!!

BravesFan

February 17th, 2012
6:27 pm

It IS Dolly’s song. She wrote and sang this song originally. Are we upset because Dolly is WHITE?!?!?!

Patrick

February 17th, 2012
6:27 pm

No dis by Dolly….and I’m not sure how one can be construed from her comments. The bigger question here is why does it always have to be about race? There certainly has been too many self-inflicted deaths by high profile members of all races. Let’s remember each for their contributions and try to learn from the mistakes we all make.

Rick James

February 17th, 2012
6:29 pm

If Dolly wrote the song its hers.Now lets move on.

Linda Russell-Walton

February 17th, 2012
6:30 pm

Ms.Parton did not diss Whitney Houston in any way and she handled the ridiculous backlash with a great deal of grace and gentleness.

After all….she’s the one who wrote the song which does give her the rights to it unless she’s sold them- which I don’t think she has.

Look before I leap...

February 17th, 2012
6:30 pm

Dolly showed a lot of class by reposting with the word “our”.
Not taking away from Whitney’s talent, but if “Being Bobby Brown” is any indication, classy is not an adjective one would use to describe Ms Houston.

As with so many other celebrities, there is a big distinction between the person and the image.

Marilyn

February 17th, 2012
6:31 pm

People please give it a break. This is Dolly’s song and Whitney made it her own also. No, Dolly has nothing to apologize for. Please let Whitney rest in peace without all this unnecessary controversy.

USMC

February 17th, 2012
6:34 pm

Ok lets face the facts Whitney sang it better

sassyone

February 17th, 2012
6:35 pm

reading the comments just shows the ignorance and bias that all Americans hold . you all need to look in the mirror and stop throwing stones before the glass hurts you and yours.

Alan

February 17th, 2012
6:35 pm

Is “diss” ebonics?

Billy Murray

February 17th, 2012
6:37 pm

What kind of crap is this!

The song was Dolly’s for Christ Sake!

Give us a break ……..where is this society going to.

Julie

February 17th, 2012
6:40 pm

Dolly’s version is much better than Whitney’s. Sorry, Whitney’s was great, but Dolly’s was true to the song.

Alan

February 17th, 2012
6:42 pm

Funny how when a famous black person dies there is sudden hatred, flags at half staff, “dissing,” etc. Don’t ever hear about that when a white person dies. Houston was a great singer but a druggie. She did it to herself. No different then Chris Farley.

ProgressivePeach

February 17th, 2012
6:42 pm

According to international copyright law, if you wrote it, you own it. It’s YOUR song. What a tempest in a teapot.

John

February 17th, 2012
6:43 pm

Jeez, how low will this paper sink? As bad as “The Buzz” usually is, this may be the stupidest.

Billy Christian

February 17th, 2012
6:45 pm

Dolly is a national treasure and a music icon with a career spanning over 50 years. She wrote the song in 1974 and it was a #1 song for her…She then rerecorded it again in the early 80’s for a movie .It was a #1 song again. Many times that I have seen Dolly in concert she always complimented Whitney and her version of the song being so successful…There is not a mean bone in Dolly’s body and she is very genuine and down to earth…Shame on you and TMZ for trying to cause trouble for a great lady!!

Mary Hart

February 17th, 2012
6:46 pm

I am old enought to remember when the song orginally came out as recorded by Dolly Pardon. I loved it! I love WH as well, but I always felt that DP’s version was the better of the two. Of course it’s DP’s song and she has every right to say “my song,” anyone who thinks otherwise is an idiot. DP’s words were very appropriate. If WH had followed the example of DO she’s still be alive.

Shawn

February 17th, 2012
6:46 pm

It was not a dis. Dolly wrote the song period. If you want to own the song then write it. It’s just as simple as that.

Fred ™

February 17th, 2012
6:47 pm

Julie

USMC

February 17th, 2012
6:34 pm

Ok lets face the facts Whitney sang it better

February 17th, 2012
6:40 pm

Dolly’s version is much better than Whitney’s. Sorry, Whitney’s was great, but Dolly’s was true to the song.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Actually neither of the above quoted statements is true. The two ladies sang it differently. I love both versions.

That doesn’t change the fact that Whitney was classless about singing the song. She was beautiful, she had one of the best voices in our recorded history, but she had zero class and was a drug ho.

Seriously?

February 17th, 2012
6:49 pm

It’s not a Dis ………………. Trick!

Scott Anderson

February 17th, 2012
6:51 pm

Dolly would never say anything hurtful on purpose. She is a wonderful person. On the other side we have crack is whack whitney. Watching her on that Bobbie reality show was painful. what a awful person when she was high and drunk, which she lived for. Its what happens when someone like her gets too much money and has the diva attitude of fawk the world I do what I want when I want and die when I do……..

o....k

February 17th, 2012
6:51 pm

dolly wrote it. it’s hers. and i’m black and proud.

Deepdiver

February 17th, 2012
6:52 pm

Some people are morons. Dolly wrote the song, so it is her song, no matter how famous Whitney’s performance of Dolly’s song is. Learn what a writing credit and whine when Whitney actually writes something herself.

Jennifer Brett

February 17th, 2012
6:52 pm

Winning comment of the day:

William Hung
February 17th, 2012
6:09 pm

“She Bangs” will always belong to me.

Gwendolyn Stone

February 17th, 2012
6:53 pm

No. I’m sure there have been other songs that have been re-made. Slow Your Roll!!!!

Deepdiver

February 17th, 2012
6:54 pm

By the way, there seem to be a lot of self-loathers in the African American community who have a persecution complex. I am tired of hearing people throw around the word hater. They don’t know what it means. Someone who has a legitmate criticism of someone else is not a hater. They are telling the truth and the fool on the receiving end is too hurt to admit that the criticism is accurate.

Whitney Fan

February 17th, 2012
6:56 pm

I see nothing wrong with Dolly Parton’s initial comments. She wrote and recorded the song many years before Whitney recorded it, so technically it is her song. I heard that she used to close out all of her concerts with that song. I have heard Dolly’s version many times, and I like it. However, Whitney introduced the song to a larger audience. When Whitney sang it with that powerful voice, you could not help but stop and take notice.