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Jolene

by

Dolly Parton



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This was inspired by an encounter with a 10-year-old fan. "She had this beautiful red hair, this beautiful skin, these beautiful green eyes, and she was looking up at me, holding [out] for an autograph," Parton recalled to NPR in 2008. "I said, 'Well, you're the prettiest little thing I ever saw. So what is your name?' And she said, 'Jolene.' And I said, 'Jolene. Jolene. Jolene. Jolene. That is pretty. That sounds like a song. I'm going to write a song about that.'"
This was written and recorded around the time Parton was leaving one-time singing partner and manager Porter Wagoner. The song became the first of 5 consecutive #1 Country hits and created momentum as Dolly embarked on her solo career. It was also the only one out of the 5 to cross over to the American Pop charts.
Some of the many artists who have covered this: The White Stripes, Reba McEntire, Olivia Newton-John and 10,000 Maniacs. (thanks, MARK - Boston, MA, for all above)
The song was added to the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2014. It was Parton's second tune to receive the prestigious honor - "I Will Always Love You" was included in 2007.
Bluegrass singer Rhonda Vincent recorded a cover of this song that became a fan favorite and one of those fans happened to be Dolly Parton. She was so impressed with the version, that she invited the singer and her band to perform it at Dollywood. Rhonda was in for a big surprise when she took up Dolly's offer, she said in our interview: "Now, I thought we were just going to back her up. She's there. Isn't she going to sing it? We got there expecting to back her up, and she goes, 'Oh, no. I'm not going to sing it. You're going to sing it, and I'm going to sing harmony with you.' And all I could think of is, 'Please don't let me forget the words.' Because we are nose to nose singing her song at the theater there at Dollywood to a full house. So it was a very memorable day for us. I was so glad I remembered all the words. There's nothing like singing with Dolly."
Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton Artistfacts
More Dolly Parton songs
More songs with girls' names in the title
More songs about fans
More songs that start with the chorus
More songs covered by the Glee cast

Comments (16):

On April 20th 1959, Louisiana's Goldband Records released "Puppy Love" by Dolly Parton; she was thirteen years old at the time but it was actually recorded two years earlier...
Eight years later in 1967 she would have her first nationally charted record, "Dumb Blonde", it peaked at #24 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart...
And in 1973 she made Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart for the first time with "Jolene", it reached #60...
Ms. Parton celebrated her 68th birthday three months ago on January 19th.
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
My name is Jolene... when i was little i loved this and i still do cause its the whole reason how i got my name... When i was born my dad started to sing the song and from then i was named Jolene.
- Jolene, Geneva, OH
I had never heard the name "Jolene" before, but I thought it was a beautiful name. When my daughter was born in October 1974, I named her Jolene. Now, almost 40 years later, when we go to Dollywood, this song is still playing. We laugh about it every time we hear it, because when Jolene was growing up, all she heard from people was: "Did you know there's a song called Jolene?". Dolly is a truly gifted songwriter, singer, actress and entertainer, and a lovely person, too! She's done a lot for us here in East Tennessee!
- Carolyn, Knoville, TN
i actually heard the white stripes cover of this song first. and, although i prefer the white stripes version, the original is also pretty good. the lyrics are great, just like pleading with jolene.
- Indigo, Adelaide, Australia
The little girl "jolene" that asked for the autograph went on to say she did not know her dad. Hence the song being created. With the intention that little girls who grow up without good father figures are quite possibly linked to the effect of stealing men from other women to fill their appitite for a male figure or the lack there of in their life. All girls need a 'present' father, without it they grow up very effected and try to fill in the void. Lesson being, do not take another womans man simply because you can. If a man is taken, respect that boundary. One's lack of a father figure should never over ride common decency.
- crackerstar, starville, MT
For anyone who ever wondered how Parton became a star... an absolute killer tune. Is that her on the guitar?
- Edwin, Vancouver, BC
I so love this song .. but since I heard it, the white stripes version has become my fave
- Paul, Bucharest, Romania
Any time I hear this song I wonder back when she recorded this song who the heck could have taken a man away from Dolly? She was hotter than a 2 dollar pistol back in those days!
- Mark, byrdstown, TN
At the time that I was romantically involved with a beautiful redhead (named Melissa, not Jolene), I also had another girlfriend who lived all the way across Oregon(naned Chandra, over 50 pounds heavier than Melissa and potentially lethal to anyone smaller than her, in other words, under 5'9" and 170 lbs), so the Jolene-esque confrontation and anything worse was thwarted. I have not seen Chandra in some time, and I assume that she is with another man in another place.
- Darrell, Eugene, United States
#217 on Rolling Stone's top 500 songs.
- Andy, Arlington, VA
I really like the White Stripes' rendition.
- Bri, Chelmsford, MA
I love this song because I can simply relate. Its an awesome song.
- Jillian, Portland, TX
i like this song because its about love and she doent want this girl to take her man when they still have their relationship. and it teaches me that another woman can take your man. and you can do something about it. thats what i like about this song.
- sarah floyd, bloomingdale, IL
Mindy Smith did an amazing cover of this song, and the video is cool becauseĆ¢??it features Dolly!
- Evelyn, Kansas City, MO
"Just reminds me of a few insecure maneaters that I've
had the misfortune of witnessing their shallow
selfserving games" Reminds of my so called bestfriend whoo did'nt stop till she bagged my (now ex) fiance!"
- Joyce, Urbandale, IA
I love this song tho I'm not a big country fan generally. It tells a great story and my favourite line is "please don't take him, even though you can".
- Eloise, London, England
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