The King’s busy and complicated love life probably could have inspired thousands of heartbreaking ballads. But classic lyrics like “Take my love, I’ll never ask for too much, Just all that you are and everything that you do,” are just the opening lines for the classic power ballad I Have Nothing from the soundtrack of the movie The Bodyguard. They were written from the very personal experience of living with and loving Elvis.
Linda Thompson was with The King for over four years from July 1972 until late 1976. Even after they split, their love remained. She was the first person Elvis’ young daughter Lisa Marie called the night he died and she has kept his memory and legacy alive ever since.
Talking about I Have Nothing, Linda said: “That song was definitely inspired by my living with Elvis. I knew what it was like to live with the biggest male diva of all time. I had to write this lyric around Whitney Houston who was the female diva in The Bodyguard.
“So I took some of the happenings and some of my feelings about having lived with Elvis and wrote about it in the Bodyguard.”
Linda also talked about the experience of seeing Whitney sing her track in the recording studio: “She was a racehorse, stepped up to the microphone without any warm-ups, and just hit those big notes.”
Extraordinarily, originally The Bodyguard did not have such a powerhouse soundtrack or many original songs for its leading lady.
Whitney’s long-term producer Clive Davis explained what happened: “Typically, the head of any record label is going to want more music throughout the film but unless you establish Whitney’s stardom, the script didn’t provide that. So I wrote a letter to the director and Kevin [Costner] saying just that ‘If you don’t get more music, if you don’t get more performance from Whitney, you do not have a great film.'”
He was, of course, proved correct. The soundtrack went on to shift over 45million copies and remains one of the best sell-ing albums of all time, as well as the biggest film soundtrack of all time.
I have Nothing was a huge worldwide hit and topped the Us singles chart.
Speaking of leaving Elvis, Linda once said: “I wanted to carve out my own position in life, write my own songs, carve out my own career, have my kids and my family and then write about my life and where he fit into it, which is, of course, the greatest love imaginable.”