Dolly Parton is a popular artist for covers. Many of his songs have been revamped in the style of other musicians. But there is one song that has been performed by other artists far more times than any other song in the country queen’s extensive repertoire. That song is “Jolene.”
‘Jolene’ is the most frequently covered Dolly Parton song
In his 2020 book, Dolly Parton, songwriter: My Life in Lyrics, Parton writes that “Jolene” is her song “most performed by others.” It was a #1 country hit and was Parton’s first song to appear in the adult contemporary hit parade. “Jolene” was nominated for Grammy Awards in both 1974 and 1975. The song finally won a Grammy in 2017, when Parton collaborated with Pentatonix. Today, the singer’s original recording is in the Grammy Hall of Fame.
He wrote, “‘Jolene’ is my most recorded song.” “All over the world, over the years, they say it’s been recorded four hundred times. Whether it’s in another language or a garage band, everybody loves that song. I think every band can sing it.” It is, and every woman can relate to.”
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Parton is thrilled “Jolene” Is Covered So Extensively. And she understands the appeal.
“It’s so simple, that the chorus repeats, ‘Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, don’t take my man,’” she wrote. “Little little kids sing it, even if they don’t know what ‘Take My Man’ means. I don’t know what the reason is, but people go right there. It makes me happy, because I am too I love it. I can’t get tired of singing that song.”
Dolly Parton met a little girl named Jolene and felt inspired
Parton was inspired to write a song after meeting a little girl named Jolene. At the time, she didn’t know what the song would be about, but she knew she liked the name and wanted to put music in it.
“There was a little girl on a show when I was touring with Porter [Wagoner], he wrote. “We used to sign autographs after the show. She came on stage and said, ‘Will you sign this ‘To Jolene’?’ I said, ‘Jolene, that’s a beautiful name. I bet you’re named after your dad. What’s his name, Joe?’ He said, ‘No, it’s just Jolene.’ I said, ‘Well, I love that name, and if you ever hear a song with it, you’ll know it’s about you.’”
To remember the name, Parton repeated “Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene” until she was back on the tour bus, where she could write it.
“When I thought, ‘I’ll just start singing like this, because that’s how I remembered the name, and I’ll add to that,’” she wrote. “Then I came up with a story I knew women could relate to.”
The inspiration for the story of ‘Jolene’
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The story of the song itself is based on “Loose Carlo”. [Dean, her husband] Seducing a girl in the bank, which was true. ”
“I went down there, and that Was Beautiful,” Parton wrote. “and he Was tamper with. And I made the whole thing into the lyrics of my song.”
Bank tellers may not have “vivid locks of fragrant hair” or “ivory skin and emerald green eyes.” Her name wasn’t even Jolene. But that’s what Parton does best – she takes pieces of stories, memories, feelings and turns them into universal truths.