Jolene (song)

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Dolly jolene single cover.jpg
Single by Dolly Parton
from the album Jolene
B-side"Love, You're So Beautiful Tonight"
ReleasedOctober 1973
Format7" single
RecordedRCA Studio B, Nashville; May 22, 1973
Songwriter(s)Dolly Parton
Producer(s)Bob Ferguson
Dolly Parton singles chronology
"Traveling Man"
"I Will Always Love You"
Music video
"Jolene" (audio) on YouTube

"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.

The song was ranked No. 217 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of "the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" in 2004.[1] According to Parton, "Jolene" is the song most recorded by other artists of all the songs she has written.[2]

"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.[3]


The song tells of Parton confronting Jolene, a stunningly beautiful woman, whom she believes is trying to steal away her lover and asking her "please don't take my man." Throughout the song, Parton 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.[2][4]

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 February 2019, the song had sold 887,000 digital copies in the US since it became available for digital download.[5]

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.[6] 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.[6]

The thumb-picked guitar on the recording is by Chip Young.[7]

Charts and certifications[edit]

The White Stripes[edit]

"Jolene (Live Under Blackpool Lights)"
Jolene (under blackpool light).jpg
Single by The White Stripes
from the album Under Blackpool Lights
ReleasedNovember 20, 2004
Songwriter(s)Dolly Parton
Producer(s)Jack White
The White Stripes singles chronology
"There's No Home for You Here"
"Jolene (Live Under Blackpool Lights)"
"Blue Orchid"

"Jolene (Live Under Blackpool Lights)" was released as a live single by American garage rock band The White Stripes. The single reached No. 16 on the UK Singles Chart in November 2004 and also reached No. 12 in Norway and No. 28 in Flemish Belgium. 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.[23]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Jolene (Live Under Blackpool Lights)"
  2. "Black Math (Live Under Blackpool Lights)" (only on CD version)
  3. "Do (Live Under Blackpool Lights)" (only on vinyl flip side)


Chart (2004–2005) Peak
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[24] 28
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[25] 12
Ireland (IRMA)[26] 42
Norway (VG-lista)[27] 12
Poland (LP3)[28] 2
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[29] 16
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[30] 55
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[31] 16
UK Indie (Official Charts Company)[32] 1


Single by Pentatonix featuring Dolly Parton
from the album PTX, Vol. IV - Classics
ReleasedSeptember 16, 2016
Songwriter(s)Dolly Parton
Pentatonix singles chronology
"If I Ain't Got You"
Dolly Parton singles chronology
"Forever Country"

In September 2016, the American a cappella group Pentatonix released a cover of the song with Dolly Parton herself as feature artist.[33] The cover won the Grammy Award for Best Country Duo/Group Performance.


Chart (2016) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[34] 92
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[35] 84
New Zealand Heatseekers (Recorded Music NZ)[36] 5
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[37] 93
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[38] 1
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[39] 18

Other cover versions[edit]

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 new wave duo Strawberry Switchblade released a synth-pop version as a single in the UK and Japan in 1985, and it was later included on an expanded edition of their 1985 debut album.[40]
Darcy Clay
Darcy Clay included a cover version of the song on his 1997 EP Jesus I Was Evil.
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.[41]
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.[2] 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.[42]
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.[43]
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.[44] 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.[45] She eventually went on to win the series and received a contract with Sony Music Australia.[46] Im has released an acoustic version[47] of the song.[48]
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.
Laura Marling
Laura Marling has covered this song with Mumford & Sons.
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

Answer songs[edit]

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."[56]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. 2004-12-09.
  2. ^ a b c "Dolly Parton's 'Jolene' Still Haunts Singers". NPR. October 9, 2008.
  3. ^ "Dolly Parton and Pentatonix win country duo/roup performance award for 'Jolene'". Los Angeles Times. Randall Roberts. Retrieved April 10, 2017.
  4. ^ Simon Usborne (July 1, 2014). "Glastonbury 2014: So who's Jolene?". The Independent.
  5. ^ a b Bjorke, Matt (February 20, 2019). "Top 30 Digital Country Singles Sales Chart: February 20, 2019". RoughStock. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Copsey, Rob (19 January 2017). "Happy Birthday Dolly Parton! Her most downloaded songs in the UK revealed". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 21, No. 3, March 02 1974". RPM. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  9. ^ "Adult Contemporary - Volume 21, No. 2, February 23, 1974". RPM. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  10. ^ "Country Singles - Volume 21, No. 1, February 16, 1974". RPM. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  11. ^ " – Dolly Parton – Jolene". Tracklisten.
  12. ^ "The Irish Charts - Search the Charts - Jolene". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  13. ^ Flavour of New Zealand, 6 April 1974
  14. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  15. ^ " – Dolly Parton – Jolene". Singles Top 100.
  16. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  17. ^ "Dolly Parton Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  18. ^ "Chart Search Results - Adult Contemporary 1974-02-23". Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  19. ^ "Dolly Parton Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
  20. ^ "Cerificeringer" (in Danish). IFPI Denmark. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  21. ^ "British single certifications – Dolly Parton – Jolene". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Jolene in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  22. ^ "American single certifications – Dolly Parton – Jolene". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  23. ^ "Readers' Poll: The Greatest Live Cover Songs". Rolling Stone.
  24. ^ " – The White Stripes – Jolene" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  25. ^ " – The White Stripes – Jolene" (in French). Ultratip. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  26. ^ "Chart Track: Week 49, 2004". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  27. ^ " – The White Stripes – Jolene". VG-lista. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  28. ^ "Notowanie nr1216" (in Polish). LP3. 20 May 2005. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  29. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  30. ^ " – The White Stripes – Jolene". Singles Top 100. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  31. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  32. ^ "Official Independent Singles Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  33. ^ "Jolene (feat. Dolly Parton) - Single by Pentatonix on Apple Music". 2016-09-16. Retrieved 2016-10-08.
  34. ^ "ARIA CHART WATCH #387". auspOp. September 24, 2016. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  35. ^ "Pentatonix Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  36. ^ "NZ Heatseekers Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. September 26, 2016. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  37. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  38. ^ "Pentatonix Chart History (Bubbling Under Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  39. ^ "Pentatonix Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  40. ^ "Strawberry Switchblade - singles discography". Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  41. ^ "Sherrié Austin - Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-12-20.
  42. ^ "Jolene: Me First and the Gimme Gimmes". RockPeaks.
  43. ^ Marc Malkin. "Miley Cyrus Cover Songs: Dolly Parton's"Jolene" Isn't the Only One". E Online. She also performed a version with Jimmy Fallon, both in disguise, while busking in a New York City subway on one of his Late Night With Jimmy Fallon episodes.
  44. ^ "Dami Im Sings 'Jolene' on The X Factor Australia 2013 Bootcamp".
  45. ^ "Minogue gets vocal about Dami".
  46. ^ "X Factor Australia Grand Final: Dami Im completes demolition with army".
  47. ^ "Dami Im - Jolene (Acoustic)".
  48. ^ "damiimVEVO".
  49. ^ Music row / Jill Johnson, Svensk mediedatabas. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
  50. ^ "Äkta svenskheter" (in Swedish). Swedish Mediadatabase. 1992. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
  51. ^ "I’m the singer, you’re the song". Genus, sexualitet och förhållandet mellan röst och text inom populärmusik by Anders N. Nilsson, pp. 12-13
  52. ^ "Jolene (featuring Dolly Parton)". Archived from the original on 7 August 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
  53. ^ Cinquemani, Sal (August 21, 2014). "The 10 Best Cover Songs from Tori Amos's Unrepentant Geraldines Tour". Slant Magazine. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  54. ^ "Jolene - Live on the Honda Stage at the iHeartRadio Theater LA". YouTube. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  55. ^ "Nadine". Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  56. ^ Betts, Stephen L (October 27, 2017). "Hear Cam's "Jolene"-Inspired New Song "Diane"". Rolling Stone Country. Retrieved 27 October 2017.

External links[edit]