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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. 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.

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It is also the longest running number one single from a soundtrack album.

It debuted at number 40 on the Billboard Hot 100, and became Houston's tenth number one entry two weeks later.

In addition to the 1982 re-recording for the soundtrack album, Parton's original 1974 recording of the song also appeared in Martin Scorsese's film Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, and the 1996 film It's My Party.

The song also won Parton Female Vocalist of the Year at the 1975 CMA Awards. Ellison stated that the song "speaks about the breakup of a relationship between a man and a woman that does not descend into unremitting domestic turmoil, but instead envisions parting with respect – because of the initiative of the woman". Then when Whitney [Houston's version] came out, I made enough money to buy Graceland. Ellison's book Country Music Culture: From Hard Times to Heaven (1995), he stated: "In the early 1990s, when ambiguity in romantic relationships accompanies changing expectations for both men and women, this song demonstrates Dolly Parton's appeal as a songwriter in the pop music market." After Whitney Houston's recording of the song became a hit in 1992, the tabloid press began reporting on a 'feud' between the two performers, stemming from Dolly Parton allegedly reneging on an agreement that she would not perform the song for a number of months while Houston's version was on the charts, so as not to compete with Houston's recording.

It broke its own record in the following three weeks, peaking at 632,000 copies in the week ending December 27, 1992.