Jolene (song)

For other songs of similar name, see Jolene.
Single by Dolly Parton
from the album Jolene
B-side "Love, You're So Beautiful Tonight"
Released October 1973
Format 7" single
Recorded RCA Studio B, Nashville; May 22, 1973
Length 2:42
Label RCA Nashville
Writer(s) Dolly Parton
Producer(s) Bob Ferguson
Dolly Parton singles chronology
"Traveling Man"
"I Will Always Love You"

"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" 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 even though 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][3]

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. The song has sold 733,000 digital copies in the US since it became available for digital download.[4]

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.[5] The song also re-entered the chart when Parton performed at the Glastonbury festival in 2014. The song has sold 214,279 digital copies in the UK as of July 2014.[6]

Charts and certifications

Weekly charts

Chart (1973–74) Peak
Canada (RPM)[7] 84
Canada Adult Contemporary Songs (RPM)[8] 40
Canada Country Singles (RPM)[9] 1
Denmark (Tracklisten)[10] 19
Ireland (IRMA)[11] 8
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[12] 16
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[13] 7
US Billboard Hot 100[14] 60
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[15] 44
US Country Songs (Billboard)[16] 1


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[17] Gold 5,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


The White Stripes

"Jolene (Live Under Blackpool Lights)"
Single by The White Stripes
from the album Under Blackpool Lights
Released November 20, 2004
Length 2:37
Label XL
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 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.[18]

Track listing
  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)

Other versions

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
Leila Forouhar, the Persian pop star, has covered this song in her album called Do Parande (The Two Birds, Persian: دو پرنده) in 1976. She is one of the first popular singers that has sung "Jolene".
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.[19]
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.
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.[20]
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.
"Jolene (The Backyard Sessions)"
Single by Miley Cyrus
Music video
"Jolene" on YouTube
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.[21]
"Jolene (Acoustic)"
Single by Dami Im
Released 7 March 2014
Format Digital download
Recorded 2014
Genre Pop
Length 2.39
Label Sony Music Entertainment
Music video
"Jolene" on YouTube
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.[22] 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.[23] She eventually went on to win the series and received a contract with Sony Music Australia.[24] Im has released an acoustic version[25] of the song.[26]
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


Single by Pentatonix
Released September 16, 2016
Length 2:37
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.[32]


Chart (2016) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[33] 92
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[34] 84
New Zealand Heatseekers (Recorded Music NZ)[35] 5
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[36] 93
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[37] 1
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[38] 18


Preceded by
"I Love"
by Tom T. Hall
Billboard Hot Country Singles number-one single
(Dolly Parton version)

February 2, 1974
Succeeded by
"World of Make Believe"
by Bill Anderson
Preceded by
"Hey Loretta"
by Loretta Lynn
RPM Country Tracks number-one single
(Dolly Parton version)

February 16, 1974
Preceded by
"Love Is Blind"
by Janis Ian
Japanese Oricon International Chart
number-one single
(Olivia Newton-John version)

November 8–22, 1976
Succeeded by
"Take Me Home, Country Roads"
by John Denver

Answer Songs

Kirsty Maccoll's 1994 single "Caroline" is in-spirit response song to "Jolene," in which the Jolene character cannot face 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 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 the singer's man and in fact warns the Parton character that "her man" is attempting to cheat with her.

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 framed as a heartless temptress by the original song.

See also


  1. "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. 2004-12-09.
  2. 1 2 3 "Dolly Parton's 'Jolene' Still Haunts Singers". NPR. October 9, 2008.
  3. Simon Usborne (July 1, 2014). "Glastonbury 2014: So who's Jolene?". The Independent.
  4. Bjorke, Matt (November 8, 2016). "Top 30 Digital Singles Sales Report: November 8, 2016". Roughstock.
  5. Liv Moss (June 27, 2014). "Dolly Parton's Top 10 most downloaded tracks of all time revealed!". Official Charts Company.
  6. "Country Bites News snippets June 30 - July 6, 2014". Country Routes News. 13 July 2014.
  7. "Top Singles - Volume 21, No. 3, March 02 1974". RPM. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  8. "Adult Contemporary - Volume 21, No. 2, February 23, 1974". RPM. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  9. "Country Singles - Volume 21, No. 1, February 16, 1974". RPM. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  10. " – Dolly Parton – Jolene". Tracklisten.
  11. "The Irish Charts - Search the Charts - Jolene". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  12. " – Dolly Parton – Jolene". Singles Top 100.
  13. "Archive Chart: 1976-06-19" UK Singles Chart.
  14. "Dolly Parton – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Dolly Parton.
  15. "Chart Search Results - Adult Contemporary 1974-02-23". Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  16. "Dolly Parton Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved November 2, 2012.
  17. "Cerificeringer" (in Danish). IFPI Denmark. Retrieved 30 October 2012.
  18. "Readers' Poll: The Greatest Live Cover Songs". Rolling Stone.
  19. "Strawberry Switchblade - singles discography". Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  20. "Jolene: Me First and the Gimme Gimmes". RockPeaks.
  21. Marc Malkin. "Miley Cyrus Cover Songs: Dolly Parton's"Jolene" Isn't the Only One". E Online.
  22. "Dami Im Sings 'Jolene' on The X Factor Australia 2013 Bootcamp".
  23. "Minogue gets vocal about Dami".
  24. "X Factor Australia Grand Final: Dami Im completes demolition with army".
  25. "Dami Im - Jolene (Acoustic)".
  26. "damiimVEVO".
  27. Music row / Jill Johnson, Svensk mediedatabas. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
  28. "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
  29. "Jolene (featuring Dolly Parton)". Retrieved 3 August 2013.
  30. Cinquemani, Sal (August 21, 2014). "The 10 Best Cover Songs from Tori Amos's Unrepentant Geraldines Tour". Slant Magazine. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  31. "Nadine". Retrieved 9 October 2015.
  32. "Jolene (feat. Dolly Parton) - Single by Pentatonix on Apple Music". 2016-09-16. Retrieved 2016-10-08.
  33. "ARIA CHART WATCH #387". auspOp. September 24, 2016. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  34. "Pentatonix – Chart history" Canadian Hot 100 for Pentatonix. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  35. "NZ Heatseekers Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. September 26, 2016. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  36. "Archive Chart: 2016-09-23". Scottish Singles Top 40. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  37. "Pentatonix – Chart history" Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 for Pentatonix. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  38. "Pentatonix – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Pentatonix. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
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