SECRETS BEHIND DOLLY'S DITTY; Theatre.
IT'S one of the most iconic love songs of all time. But Dolly Parton did not write it for a lover - instead she used it to pour out her feelings for her boss, with whom she was having a huge row.
When Whitney Houston warbled I Will Always Love You, it rocketed to the top of the charts around the world, spending 14 weeks at No.1 in America and 10 in Britain.
Not everyone knows that the song was actually written by the Queen of Country Music - and fewer people realise the story behind it.
Dolly is on the phone from her home in Nashville, telling me the tale as we talk about her musical 9 to 5 coming to Birmingham.
The show, based on her hit 1980 film, is about how three women team up to get their own back on their ''sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot'' boss.
"All of us have wanted to string up our boss from time to time," says Dolly - and the one she fell out with was Porter Wagoner.
The country entertainer shot her to stardom by offering her a weekly spot on his TV show. He became her partner and producer, but the relationship was, to quote Dolly, "tumultuous".
"We were both so stubborn and self-centred," she admits now. "It was hard for me to work under somebody like that. We fought all the time and in the end I left him, but we fought about that and he tried to sue me.
"I wrote I Will Always Love You in 1973 about leaving him, to say 'thank you, I'll always love you but I'm out of here'.
"I think it helped him to accept the split. He said, 'That's the best song you've ever written, you can go if I can produce the record'.
"We stayed friends and I was with him on the day he passed away a few years ago."
Lines like 'Bittersweet memories, that is all I'm taking with me' and 'So goodbye, please don't cry, we both know I'm not what you need' can be read in a different light when you realise they are about a work colleague.
Dolly, now 66, is far from a well-endowed dumb blonde. She holds the copyright to more than 3,000 of her own songs, recording 89 albums and winning seven Grammys.
Elvis Presley wanted to record I Will Always Love You shortly before he died but also wanted half the publishing royalties.
Dolly wisely refused and ended up making more than PS4 million out of the song after Whitney Houston performed it for the film The Bodyguard. Not bad for a woman who grew up in a two-room shack with an alcoholic father, depressive mother and ten siblings.
She also branched out into the movies when she was invited to co-star in 9 to 5 alongside Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda. Dolly agreed on the condition she could write the theme song, which went on to become a big hit.
She went on to receive a Golden Globe nomination for The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and starred in Steel Magnolias, but she well remembers her big screen debut.
"I had never even seen a movie being made, let alone be in one," she says. "But it was the most fun I've ever had doing a film, so the musical is a project dear to my heart."
The stage show, with added songs written by Dolly, opened to mixed reviews in Los Angeles in 2008 before playing Broadway the following year. It was nominated for four Tony Awards but only ran for five months.
Now a revamped production is touring the UK, starring Bonnie Langford, Jackie Clune, Natalie Casey, Amy Lennox and Ben Richards. It's coming to Birmingham's Alexandra Theatre for three weeks over Christmas but I am speaking to Dolly just before the first night in Manchester.
"I woke up this morning with butterflies," confides Dolly, who has been married for 46 years to publicity-shy Carl Dean, who runs an asphalt company.
"I'm as nervous as if I was in the show myself. I kind of am - I appear by video, narrating and intermingling with the cast. Hopefully it will feel like I'm there.
"I couldn't be there for the opening because of my schedule but I hope to get to the UK to see it at some point. I love Birmingham, so maybe I will come while it's on there. The thing that always sticks in my mind about Birmingham is how great the fans are there.
"The musical is very entertaining.
It makes points about sexism, but we deal with it in a fun way. I love the fact it's still a period piece, set in 1980 like the movie. It's so refreshing and funny to see the low-tech way they work in the office.
"I'm the worst with technology.
I surround myself with people who help me out. I can send emails but I struggle to learn. I much prefer using long hand. There is something about the smell of the ink, holding a pen and looking at a page that helps me create."
9 to 5 The Musical runs at Birmingham's Alexandra Theatre from Dec 17 to Jan 5. Call 0844 871 3011 or go to www.atgtickets.com/birmingham.
" I wrote I Will Always Love You to say 'thank you, I'll always " love you but I'm out of here'.
SUIT AND TIE: Natalie Casey, Jackie Clune, Amy Lennox and Ben Richards star in 9 to 5, by Dolly Parton (top)