Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”: Audio, Lyrics, & Inspiration

jolene

photo: Dolly Parton Facebook

Country music legend Dolly Parton penned "Jolene" and recorded this timeless tune on June 12, 1973. Check out the audio and lyrics here!

Rolling Stone included country music icon Dolly Parton‘s “Jolene” in their 2004 list of ‘500 Greatest Songs of All Time’ at #217. This song appears on the 1974 album Jolene and was recorded at Nashville’s Studio B. Check out the official audio below!

So who was the woman who inspired the country star to write “Jolene” in the first place? As it turns out, the song has two real-life muses.

“One night, I was on stage, and there was this beautiful little girl — she was probably 8 years old at the time,” Parton shared with NPR during a 2008 interview . “And she had this beautiful red hair, this beautiful skin, these beautiful green eyes, and she was looking up at me, holding, you know, for an autograph. 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.’ I said, ‘That is pretty. That sounds like a song. I’m going to write a song about that.’”

As for the story behind the song, that was inspired by a red-headed bank teller who was a little too flirtatious with Parton’s husband, Carl Dean.

“She got this terrible crush on my husband,” Parton explained. “And he just loved going to the bank because she paid him so much attention. It was kinda like a running joke between us — when I was saying, ‘Hell, you’re spending a lot of time at the bank. I don’t believe we’ve got that kind of money.’ So it’s really an innocent song all around, but sounds like a dreadful one.”

Song Lyrics

Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
I’m begging of you, please don’t take my man
Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
Please don’t take him just because you can

Your beauty is beyond compare
With flaming locks of auburn hair
With ivory skin and eyes of emerald green
Your smile is like a breath of spring
Your voice is soft like summer rain
And I cannot compete with you, Jolene

He talks about you in his sleep
And there’s nothing I can do to keep
From crying when he calls your name, Jolene
But I can easily understand
How you could easily take my man
But you don’t know what he means to me, Jolene

Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
I’m begging of you, please don’t take my man
Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
Please don’t take him just because you can

You could have your choice of men
But I could never love again
He’s the only one for me, Jolene
I had to have this talk with you
My happiness depends on you
And whatever you decide to do, Jolene

Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
I’m begging of you, please don’t take my man
Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
Please don’t take him even though you can
Jolene (Jolene)

Be sure to share “Jolene” with other country music fans!

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