"Jolene" is a song written and performed by American country music artist Dolly Parton. It was released in October 1973 as the first single and title track from her album of the same name, produced by Bob Ferguson.
|Single by Dolly Parton|
|from the album Jolene|
|B-side||"Love, You're So Beautiful Tonight"|
|Recorded||RCA Studio B, Nashville; May 22, 1973|
|Dolly Parton singles chronology|
The song was ranked No. 217 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of "the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" in 2004. According to Parton, "Jolene" is the song most recorded by other artists of all the songs she has written.
"Jolene" was nominated for two Grammy Awards for Best Female Country Vocal Performance (first for the original release and the following year for a live version); despite not winning originally, the song eventually earned Parton a Grammy Award for Best Country Duo/Group Performance 43 years after its original release, for a cover by the a capella group Pentatonix in which she was also featured.
The song tells the tale of a woman confronting Jolene, a stunningly beautiful woman, who she believes is trying to steal away her lover and begging her "please don't take my man." Throughout the song, the woman implores Jolene "please don't take him just because you can."
According to Parton, the song was inspired by a red-headed bank clerk who flirted with her husband Carl Dean at his local bank branch around the time they were newly married. In an interview, she also revealed that Jolene's name and appearance are based on that of a young fan who came on stage for her autograph.
The song became Parton's second solo number-one single on the country charts after being released as a single in late 1973 (prior to the album's release). It reached the top position in February 1974; it was also a moderate pop hit for her and a minor adult contemporary chart entry. As of November 2016[update], the song had sold 733,000 digital copies in the US since it became available for digital download.
The song was released as a single later in the UK, and became Parton's first top ten hit song in the country, reaching number seven in the UK Singles Chart in 1976. The song also re-entered the chart when Parton performed at the Glastonbury festival in 2014. The song has sold 255,300 digital copies in the UK as of January 2017.
Charts and certificationsEdit
The White StripesEdit
|"Jolene (Live Under Blackpool Lights)"|
|Single by The White Stripes|
|from the album Under Blackpool Lights|
|Released||November 20, 2004|
|The White Stripes singles chronology|
"Jolene (Live Under Blackpool Lights)" was released as a live single by American garage rock band The White Stripes. The single reached No. 16 in the UK Singles Chart in November 2004. The White Stripes previously released a studio version of "Jolene", as the B-side to their 2000 single of "Hello Operator", from the album De Stijl. In Australia, the song was ranked No. 10 on Triple J's Hottest 100 of 2004. Another live performance of the song is featured on the 2010 live album Under Great White Northern Lights. The White Stripes' version was voted one of the greatest live covers by readers of Rolling Stone magazine.
- Track listing
- "Jolene (Live Under Blackpool Lights)"
- "Black Math (Live Under Blackpool Lights)" (only on CD version)
- "Do (Live Under Blackpool Lights)" (only on vinyl flip side)
|Single by Pentatonix featuring Dolly Parton|
|from the album PTX, Vol. IV - Classics|
|Released||September 16, 2016|
|Pentatonix singles chronology|
|Dolly Parton singles chronology|
In September 2016, the American a cappella group Pentatonix released a cover of the song with Dolly Parton herself as feature artist. The cover won the Grammy Award for Best Country Duo/Group Performance.
|Canada (Canadian Hot 100)||84|
|New Zealand Heatseekers (Recorded Music NZ)||5|
|Scotland (Official Charts Company)||93|
|US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)||1|
|US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)||18|
Other cover versionsEdit
- Peter James Band
- Jolene the 8th track on the Livin' For The Summer album released August 2015. This is the male version done in a country ballad style.
- Olivia Newton-John
- Olivia Newton-John's version of "Jolene" is featured on her 1976 album Come on Over. Newton-John's version was released as a single in Japan.
- Leila Forouhar
- Persian pop singer Leila Forouhar's cover of "Jolene" was released on her 1976 album Do Parande (The Two Birds, Persian: دو پرنده).
- Strawberry Switchblade
- Scottish female pop group Strawberry Switchblade released an electro-pop version as a single in the UK and Japan in 1985, and it was later included on an expanded edition of their 1985 s/t album.
- British alternative rock group Queenadreena has covered the song in 2000.
- Sherrié Austin
- Sherrié Austin's version of "Jolene" is the second track on her 2001 album Followin' A Feeling. It was released as a single, and peaked at #55 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in April 2001.
- Mindy Smith
- Mindy Smith covered "Jolene" in 2003, both for her debut album One Moment More and the Dolly Parton tribute album Just Because I'm a Woman. Parton described this cover as her favorite version of the song. The version with Mindy Smith was performed on stage with Dolly Parton, who is also featured in the official music video.
- Susanna and the Magical Orchestra
- Norwegian duo Susanna and the Magical Orchestra covered the "Jolene" in 2004 for their debut album List of Lights and Buoys.
- Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
- The punk cover band Me First and the Gimme Gimmes cover the song on their sixth album Love Their Country, released in October 2006.
- Sophie Ellis-Bextor
- British singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor covered the song in 2008, and it was used on the new BBC series Beautiful People.
- Ellie Goulding
- Ellie Goulding covered this song in 2009.
- Miley Cyrus
- In 2012, Miley Cyrus (Parton's goddaughter) performed a version in a "Backyard Sessions" video found on Cyrus' official website which gained some attention.
- Dami Im
- On August 12, 2013, during the fifth season of The X Factor Australia Dami Im covered "Jolene" during Super Bootcamp but forgot the lyrics. Although she did complete the track, she was eliminated from the competition. Just prior to the Home Visits round, another contestant pulled out, and Im was invited back to resume the competition. She eventually went on to win the series and received a contract with Sony Music Australia. Im has released an acoustic version of the song.
- Katy B
- Katy B sang the song live on Zane Lowe mixed with her song "Aaliyah" in 2014.
- The Sisters of Mercy
- The Sisters of Mercy often covered this song in concert as part of a series of tasteful but goth-"uncool" covers to provoke the audience. It can be heard on their live bootleg Amphetamine-Boeblingen.
- Anneke van Giersbergen
- Dutch singer Anneke van Giersbergen, former member of the Dutch band The Gathering, has covered this song, a few times, live on stage.
- Other versions
- In addition to the above, "Jolene" has been performed by numerous performers, including the Finnish singer Vicky Rosti in 1976, Dutch singer Patricia Paay in 1977, Natalie Merchant, 1980's new wave group Rubber Rodeo (1981), Keith Urban, The Weepies, Jill Johnson on the 2007 album Music Row, Reba McEntire, Katie B, Sherrié Austin, Rhonda Vincent, the Geraldine Fibbers, Lacrimosa, Queen Adreena, Ashley Arrison, Alison Krauss, dance music act One Dove, the Macedonian-German singer Alexander Veljanov, the Japanese bubblegum pop trio Candies, Norwegian singer Elisabeth Andreassen in 2004, Irish American musician Moira Nelligan, and blues/soul singer and band Danielle Nicole.
- The song was frequently covered in reality singing competition. On American Idol, the song was covered by Brooke White, Alexis Grace, and Jessica Meuse. It was also covered in the third season of Australian Idol by Klancie Keough.
- Las Chicas Del Can covered this song in the 1980s.
- The Chilean cumbia compositor Paskual Ramirez made a 'Spanish-translated' cover with cumbia rhythms, partially based on the translation made by Las Chicas del Can for the LP: Fantasía Vol. 1 (1991) and a techno-cumbia re-arrangement of the cover for the disc Paskual y su Alegría – Internacional (2000). His mate Claudia sang in the first version and his daughter Eva sang in the 2000s rearrangement.
- A 1994 version by Swedish show group Spirella Girls was named "Brolin, Brolin" and was about Swedish soccer player Tomas Brolin.
- "Jolene" was remixed as a dance track by Money, a dance group offshoot of British group James in the late 1990s. The lyrics were a sample from Parton herself, with new vocals (explaining the man in the song's point of view), by Saul Davies.
- In 2003, as part of an episode of CMT Crossroads, the song was performed as a duet by Parton and Melissa Etheridge, with Etheridge taking lead vocals.
- In 2007, Jolene is featured, on an episode of American Dad.
- In 2006, the song also appeared in Back To Mine, a mix album mix by Liam Howlett.
- The song was parodied by Australian satirical comedy show The Chaser's War on Everything. The title was altered to "Pauline" in a reference to former One Nation Party leader Pauline Hanson.
- In 2008, Icelandic artist Lay Low covered this song for the Ökutímar soundtrack. She later recorded a live version for her 2012 album Live at Home.
- In 2010, Parton's original version was featured and performed by Jessica Lowndes as Adrianna Tate-Duncan in the 90210 episode "What's Past is Prologue".
- In 2011 was also played at some concerts of Fiona Apple.
- In 2011, John Mayer, Keith Urban, and Norah Jones performed the song at the Grammy Awards as a tribute to Dolly Parton. Vicci Martinez covered the song on The Voice.
- In 2011, Samuel Larsen performed this song in the finals of Oxygen's reality competition series The Glee Project. Larsen won the competition along with a fellow contender.
- It was performed on the show Glee by Dot Marie Jones who portrays Coach Beiste in the episode "I Kissed a Girl". The episode aired on November 29, 2011.
- In 2012, The Little Willies covered the song on their album For the Good Times with Norah Jones on lead vocals.
- In 2012, Brandi Carlile covered this song on her Bear Creek tour.
- In 2012, Sandra van Nieuwland, a Dutch singer, covered this song for her album And More.
- In 2013, Straight No Chaser, an a cappella group from Indiana, covered this song (with featured vocalist Dolly Parton herself) on their 2013 album Under the Influence.
- In 2013, YouTube user goodlittlebuddy's slowed-down version of "Jolene" rose to internet fame. The song was played at 33RPM instead of 45RPM, which represents a 25% slow down from the original. This version was featured during season one of the NBC television series The Blacklist.
- In July 2014, Tori Amos covered the song on her Unrepentant Geraldines Tour.
- In 2014, Natalie Bream covered the song, by changing the lyrics from "Jolene" to "Fleur Bream", who is Bream's pet cat. The cat Fleur has gained notoriety, by starring in hit soap Emmerdale.
- Melinda Schneider and Beccy Cole covered the song on their album Great Women of Country (2014).
- In March 2015, the song was parodied in the fourth episode of Community by changing the lyrics from "Jolene" to "Gay dean".
- In July 2015, Grace Pitts covered this song in the blind auditions of the fourth season of The Voice Australia, with two coaches (Delta Goodrem and The Madden Brothers) turning around for her. She then chose to join Team Delta.
- In July 2015, a parody version aired on Austria's alternative radio station FM4, sung by the two radio show hosts Hannes Duscher and Roland Gratzer. The title was changed from "Jolene" to "Nadine", and the changed song lyrics are sung in German from Austria. This version became quite popular in Austria during the summer.
- In August 2015, Dutch tech-house producer and DJ Ferreck Dawn made a modern-day cover of "Jolene".
- In December 2015, the German band The BossHoss and the Dutch band The Common Linnets made a country music cover of "Jolene".
- In 2016, single "Because You Can (Jolene)" by Chad Cooper.
- The American group Hyperbubble recorded a cover for their 2017 album Western Ware.
- Norwegian dance crew Quick Style performed to a version of this song on the hit NBC show World of Dance (2017).
- In August 2017, the Central Coast (New South Wales, Australia) based singer-songwriter Chelsea Berman recorded a cover of "Jolene".
- In September 2017, satirist Roy Zimmerman recorded a parody entitled "Joel Osteen", criticizing Joel Osteen for his delay in offering shelter to Hurricane Harvey victims.
Kirsty Maccoll's 1994 single "Caroline" is in-spirit response song to "Jolene," in which the Jolene character grieves the loss of her best friend (the titular Caroline) after having an affair with Caroline's husband.
In 2011, Estonian indie rock band Ewert and the Two Dragons released an answer song, also titled "Jolene," in response to the original recording. In this version, Parton's "man" directly addresses Jolene, telling her that nothing will ever happen between them and that his current lover would fight to get him back.
In 2012, Canadian indie rock band Hey Ocean! released a song titled "Jolene." The song borrows from Parton's by singing part of the chorus and then dismissing it by saying "But it ain't nothing but her favorite country song."
In 2013, country singer Jennifer Nettles recorded "That Girl," which she stated in interviews should be subtitled "The Ballad of Jolene." The song is written from the perspective of the Jolene character, who Nettle feels is unfairly maligned in the original song. In this version, the other woman is shown to have no interest in taking another woman's man, and her song is in fact framed as a warning to Parton's character that "her man" has a roving eye. The concept of Dolly Parton suffering from paranoia regarding Jolene was also discussed in S01 E03 of musical comedy podcast JimBob's Music Massacre in February 2018.
In 2013, The Beautiful South guitarist David Rotheray recorded an album of answer songs, among which is "Jolene's Song," performed by Julie Murphy. This version of Jolene is equally heartbroken to learn that the man who loves her belongs to another woman and expresses her pain at being painted as a heartless temptress by the original song.
In 2017, American singer-songwriter Cam released her single Diane in response to Parton's song. The song is sung from Jolene's point of view, where she sings to 'Diane', Parton's character, and states that she did not know that 'her man' was her man. Cam noted to Rolling Stone Country that the song is her "response to Dolly Parton's 'Jolene.' It's the apology so many spouses deserve, but never get. The other woman is coming forward to break the news to the wife about an affair, respecting her enough to have that hard conversation, once she realized he was married. Because everyone should be able to decide their own path in life, based on the truth. Women especially should do this for each other, since our self-worth can still be so wrapped up in our partners. And in true country fashion, I've set the whole raw story to upbeat music, so you can dance while you process it all."
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