Dolly parton jolene song

  • Dolly Parton released “Jolene” in 1973.
  • The song was actually inspired by real people.
  • The CMAs co-host revealed the meaning of the song back in 2008, and we’re sharing it here today.

It’s hard to imagine any woman posing a threat to Dolly Parton—even a fiery redhead with ivory skin and eyes of emerald green. But that’s the story behind Dolly’s 1973 hit, “Jolene,” in which one woman begs another not to take her man. It’s also a universally popular tune with at least 30 well-known covers, the basis for a Netflix series, and Rolling Stone even named it one of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

But what’s the story behind Dolly’s words? And is there any truth to the legendary song?

What is “Jolene” about?

In the song, an anxious narrator implores another woman not to steal her love away (“I’m begging of you, please don’t take my man”). She calls her rival beautiful “beyond compare,” and explains that she believes her partner is enamored with the woman—he even talks about her in his sleep. The last verse of the song pleads: “My happiness depends on you / And whatever you decide to do, Jolene.”

Is “Jolene” based on a true story?

Yes, “Jolene” is based on real events from Dolly’s own life. The song was mainly inspired by a red-haired bank teller who flirted with her husband, Carl Thomas Dean, all the way back at the beginning of their marriage.

“She had everything I didn’t, like legs—you know, she was about 6 feet tall. And had all that stuff that some little short, sawed-off honky like me don’t have,” Dolly revealed in a 2008 NPR interview.

But the name “Jolene” was actually inspired by another redhead: a young girl she met in the autograph line at one of her concerts.

Worried about Dolly and Carl’s relationship after listening to those lyrics? You shouldn’t be: The lovebirds have been happily married since 1966.

“We’re really proud of our marriage,” Dolly told the Toronto Sun in 2011. “It’s the first for both of us. And the last.”

Dolly had a blast from the past (Picture: MEGA)

The woman who apparently inspired Dolly Parton’s 1973 country-pop banger Jolene probably isn’t too ecstatic about being the subject of one of the Tennessee singer’s biggest hits.

And, according to the country legend herself, Dolly managed to rub the real Jolene’s face in it just that little bit more when the two managed to awkwardly bump into each other recently.

Regaling Jimmy Fallon with the tale on The Tonight Show in the US this week, Dolly explained more about the inspiration behind the story in Jolene.

The singer told the host that it was written about ‘a beautiful redhead’ who worked at a bank near to where Dolly and her husband were living when they first got married.

[email protected] had a recent run-in with the infamous Jolene who inspired her iconic song pic.twitter.com/wn25UCrAYd

— Fallon Tonight (@FallonTonight) November 21, 2019

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‘He was spending more time at the bank than we had money,’ Dolly recalled with a smile. ‘And I thought: “Well, that ain’t gonna work out too good…”‘

Dolly then claimed that she and the actual Jolene managed to actually run into each other again recently.

‘Just so you know, I did see the actual Jolene not long ago. She’s not so hot now,’ Dolly said.

‘She used to have that beautiful red hair, and now she’s grey,’ she added in reference to the lyrics ‘your beauty is beyond compare, with flaming locks of auburn hair’.

Dolly 1-0 Jolene (Picture: Curtis Hilbun / AFF-USA.com / MEGA)

Is the story of Jolene true, though?

While the bank teller in question may have been the inspiration for the story, Dolly told NPR in 2008 that she was drawn to the name Jolene by a young autograph hunter she met at one of her shows in the late 1960s.

‘One night I was on stage, and there was this beautiful little girl — she was probably eight years old at the time,’ Parton recalled.

‘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.

Dolly continued: ‘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.”‘

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And the rest is country-pop history.

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MORE: Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings: Eight tales of melodrama with more ups and downs than a guitar strum

MORE: David Hasselhoff shimmies into cast of Dolly Parton’s hit musical 9 To 5

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Album: Maybe Memories (2003)
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  • “It’s a song about me and Bert McCracken’s friendship,” guitarist Quinn Allman explained. “When the band started to really pick up and people started to really get interested, we were almost not being friends anymore because we were focusing so much time on the band and not on each other.” Suggestion credit:
    Sarah Haley – Toronto, Canada
  • The colors in the title could have some meaning. The color blue belongs to the Planet Venus, the giver of Love, devotion and harmony. The musical note of blue is G, a favorite key for the composer of romantic music. The color yellow belongs to the planet Mercury, and is said to stimulate the nerves of the brain and body. Mercury instills a quick intellect by stimulating the nervous system, so nothing can remain stagnant under the influence of this planet. Suggestion credit:
    Ryan – Howell, MI
  • The colors could be interpreted as either 2 people attracting each other or the 2 colors being mixed to create green – the color of jealousy: “It’s all in how you mix the two.” Suggestion credit:
    October – london, Canada

Comments: 36

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Blue and Yellow

And it’s all in how you mix the two
And it starts just where the light exists

It’s a feeling that you cannot miss
It burns a hole
Through everyone that feels it

Well, you’re never gonna find it
If you’re looking for it
Won’t come your way, yeah
Well, you’ll never find it
If you’re looking for it

Should’ve done something, but I’ve done it enough
By the way your hands were shaking
Rather waste some time with you

And you never would have thought, in the end
How amazing it feels just to live again

It’s a feeling that you cannot miss
And it burns a hole
Through everyone that feels it

Well, you’re never gonna find it
If you’re looking for it
Won’t come your way, yeah
Well, you’ll never find it
If you’re looking for it

Should’ve done something, but I’ve done it enough
By the way your hands were shaking
Rather waste some time with you
Should’ve said something, but I’ve said it enough
By the way my words were faded
Rather waste some time with you

Time with you
Time with you
Time with you
Waste some time with you
Waste some time with you

Should’ve done something, but I’ve done it enough
By the way your hands were shaking
Rather waste my time with you
Should’ve said something, but I’ve said it enough
By the way my words were faded
Rather waste my time with you
Should’ve done something, but I’ve done it enough
By the way my hands were shaking
Rather waste some time with you

Waste some time with you
Waste some time with you
Waste some time with you
Waste some time with you
Waste some time with you
Waste some time with you
Waste some time with you
By the way your hands were shaking
Rather waste some time with you

This post is part of the Color Meaning Blog Series, detailing the meanings associated with colors such as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, grey, black, white, brown, pink, turquoise, gold, silver, and beige.

Yellow, the color of sunshine, hope, and happiness, has conflicting associations. On one hand yellow stands for freshness, happiness, positivity, clarity, energy, optimism, enlightenment, remembrance, intellect, honor, loyalty, and joy, but on the other, it represents cowardice and deceit. A dull or dingy yellow may represent caution, sickness, and jealousy.

Studies show that the meaning of the color yellow can be warmth, cheerfulness, increased mental activity, increased muscle energy. The color yellow helps activate the memory, encourage communication, enhance vision, build confidence, and stimulate the nervous system.

Bright yellow is an attention getting color, and when used in combination with black, is creates one of the easiest color combinations to read and see from long distances. This is why school buses, taxi cabs, and traffic signs are painted yellow and black.

The color yellow is a spontaneous and unstable color. It is often associated with food and is highly used in children’s products and marketing advertisements aimed at children. Perceived as a childish color by men, yellow is not a color that should be used when marketing products to prestigious or wealthy men.

If yellow is overused, it can have a disturbing effect. For example, it is a proven fact that babies cry more in rooms painted yellow. Too much yellow causes loss of focus and makes it hard to complete a task. Too much yellow also can cause people to become critical and demanding. Too little yellow causes feelings of isolation and fear, insecurity, and low self-esteem. A lack of yellow can cause one to become rigid, cunning, possessive, or defensive.

Yellow gemstones are believed to aid in clarity for decision-making, boost concentration, increase energy, and offer relief from burnout, panic, nervousness, or exhaustion.

In different cultures yellow has different meanings. In some cultures, yellow represents peace. In Egypt yellow was worn to signify the dead. In Japan, yellow stands for courage. In India, yellow is the color of the merchants.

Other meanings associated with the color yellow:

  • Traditionally, yellow ribbons were worn as a sign of hope as women waited for their men to come home from war. Today, yellow ribbons are still used to welcome homes loved ones.
  • Calling someone “yellow” or “yellow-bellied” is the same as calling them a coward.
  • The term “mellow yellow” stands for laid and relaxation.
  • The phrase “yellow journalism” is in reference to bad or irresponsible reporting.

Additional words that represent different shades, tints, and values of the color yellow: Lemon, yellow ocher, golden, saffron, cream, mustard, mellow yellow.

When I Get Where I’m Going’” was written by George Teren and Rivers Rutherford, and recorded by Brad Paisley. It was released in October 2005 as second single from his album Time Well Wasted and is his fourteenth career single. The song features harmony vocals from Dolly Parton. The song was Parton’s twenty-fifth Billboard Number One, and Paisley’s fifth.

The video of this song features footage of Paisley singing in a forest, as well as home movies of himself with his grandfather, Warren L. Jarvis. The video also features many different people holding photographs of loved ones who have presumably died. Two notable people featured in this video are Michael Reagan, who is shown holding a photograph of his father Ronald Reagan, and Teresa Earnhardt, who is shown sitting in front of a painted portrait of her husband, NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt.

In 2007, after the Virginia Tech massacre, the last slide was dedicated to those lost with the VT emblem shining brightly.

The song was nominated for a Dove Award for Country Recorded Song of the Year at the 37th GMA Dove Awards.

“When I Get Where I’m Going” reached number one on the Billboard singles chart March 4.2006

Lyrics:
On the far side of the sky
The first thing that I’m gonna do
Is spread my wings and fly

I’m gonna land beside a lion
And run my fingers through his mane
Or I might find out what it’s like
To ride a drop of rain

Yeah when I get where I’m going
There’ll be only happy tears
I will shed the sins and struggles
I have carried all these years
And I’ll leave my heart wide open
I will love and have no fear
Yeah when I get where I’m going
Don’t cry for me down here

I’m gonna walk with my grand daddy
And he’ll match me step for step
And I’ll tell him how I missed him
Every minute since he left
Then I’ll hug his neck

So much pain and so much darkness
In this world we stumble through
All these questions I can’t answer
So much work to do

But when I get where I’m going
And I see my maker’s face
I’ll stand forever in the light
Of his amazing grace
Yeah when I get where I’m going
There’ll be only happy tears
Hallelujah
I will love and have no fear
When I get where I’m going
Yeah when I get where I’m going

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Brad Paisley: When I Get Where I’m Going Meaning

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    All lyrics are property and copyright of their owners. All lyrics provided for educational purposes only.

    Song meanings ©2003-2020
    lyricinterpretations.com

When I Get Where I’m Going

When I get where I’m going
On the far side of the sky
The first thing that I’m gonna do
Is spread my wings and fly

I’m gonna land beside a lion
And run my fingers through his mane
Or I might find out what it’s like
To ride a drop of rain

Yeah when I get where I’m going
There’ll be only happy tears
I will shed the sins and struggles
I have carried all these years
And I’ll leave my heart wide open
I will love and have no fear
Yeah when I get where I’m going
Don’t cry for me down here

I’m gonna walk with my grand daddy
And he’ll match me step for step
And I’ll tell him how I missed him
Every minute since he left
Then I’ll hug his neck

So much pain and so much darkness
In this world we stumble through
All these questions I can’t answer
So much work to do

But when I get where I’m going
And I see my maker’s face
I’ll stand forever in the light
Of his amazing grace
Yeah when I get where I’m going
There’ll be only happy tears
Hallelujah
I will love and have no fear
When I get where I’m going
Yeah when I get where I’m going

More cheers, more screams, more Dolly mania. As the echoes faded over Somerset, those not intimately acquainted with the Parton story were curious. Who was Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jo-leeeene, and how ‘‘loosely based’’ are we talking?

The answer reveals as much about a woman as it does a resurgent genre. The late country genius Harlan Howard defined a great country song as ‘‘three chords and the truth’’. For Parton, read three chords and ‘‘little bits of truth’’. In the case of Jolene, which Parton released in 1973 just as she was emerging as a solo country queen in the making, those truths can be traced back to a concert she gave decades ago – and a head-turning bank clerk.

In an old interview with Norwegian television, Parton recalled meeting a little girl who had come up to the stage for an autograph. ‘‘I said, ’you’re the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen’. She had red hair, green eyes and fair skin.’’ Parton asked the girl her name: Jolene. ‘‘I said, ’well that’s just about the prettiest name I ever heard. I’m gonna write a song about you and if you ever hear it, you’ll know it was about you’.’’

The real Jolene has never stepped forward. Nor has the protagonist that Parton created using her name. The singer has separately revealed inspiration for her in a red-haired teller who flirted with the singer’s husband at his local bank branch (Parton has been married to Carl Dean, a Nashville businessman who is rarely photographed or quoted, for 48 years).

‘‘The thing about country songs is that they are based on the experience of daily life,’’ says Bob Harris, the veteran radio broadcaster and country expert at BBC Radio 2. ‘‘This is why people connect with it to the extent that they do. It’s also about the individual standing on his or her own two feet, and dealing with the problems and pressures we relate to.’’

Meaning of “Jolene” by Dolly Parton

“Jolene” is a song by multiple award winning American country singer and songwriter Dolly Parton. The lyrics of “Jolene” are about a desperate housewife who confronts a very beautiful seductress named Jolene because she believes she (Jolene) is deliberately trying to steal her man from her. The desperate woman begs Jolene again and again to have mercy on her and not take her man away from her.

According to Dolly Parton, the song’s lyrics are autobiographical and were inspired by an incident at a local bank when one of the female bank workers flirted with her newly married husband Carl Dean.

While performing the song at the 2014 Glastonbury Festival, Parton said she wrote the song when her husband was spending a lot of “time with Jolene” – the redhead bank worker who was flirting with him. Parton told the audience that upon noticing what was going on between her husband and the redhead woman, she wasted no time in getting rid of her. She went on to say that the incident was a blessing in disguise because had it not been for the woman she would have never been able to write “Jolene” and make a lot of money out of the song. She went on to thank Jolene live on stage.

FYI: Parton and Dean got married in 1966.

In an interview she had in 2008 with the National Public Radio (NPR), Parton said the song’s title as well as the appearance of its main character was inspired by a young, beautiful female fan, who had come to her for an autograph. According to Parton, the young fan had very beautiful red hair, pretty green eyes, and beautiful skin.

Facts about “Jolene”

  • The song was written by Dolly Parton and produced by the renowned American country music producer and songwriter Bob Fergusson.
  • The song was released on November 3, 1973 as the first single from her thirteenth solo studio album titled “Jolene”.
  • In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine placed this song at the 217th position on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
  • Upon peaking at number 1 on the U.S. Hot Country Songs, “Jolene” became Parton’s second single to achieve that feat. Despite being a number-one country single for Parton, the song wasn’t a major hit for her on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked at number 60. On the UK Singles, the song peaked at number 7.
  • Of all the songs written by Parton, “Jolene” is currently the most covered. Since its release in 1973, several dozens of artists have covered this song. Some of the most notable covers include that of the renowned a cappella group Pentatonix. This particular cover featured Parton. Other notable musicians and bands, who have covered the song include Miley Cyrus, who is the goddaughter of Parton; The White Stripes; Sophie Ellis-Bextor; Darcy Clay; Mindy Smith; and Ellie Goulding.

Did “Jolene” win a Grammy Award?

The song was nominated twice for a Grammy Award in the Best Country Vocal Performance, Female category – the first time at the 17th Annual Grammy Awards in 1975 and the second time at the 18th Annual Grammy Awards in 1976. However, the song failed to win the award in both 1975 and 1976.

After over 40 years of receiving its first Grammy nomination, the song eventually went on to win a Grammy in the category of the Best Country Duo/Group Performance at the 59th Grammy Awards in 2017. However, this wasn’t the original version; it was the cover by Pentatonix featuring Parton.

Album: Jolene (1974)
Charted: 7 60
  • The title 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 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 five consecutive #1 Country hits and created momentum as Dolly embarked on her solo career. It was also the only one out of the five 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. Suggestion credit:
    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 has disclosed in several interviews that the song was also inspired by a red-headed bank clerk who flirted with her husband Carl Dean around the time they were newly married. Recalling the origins of her hit tune during her performance at Glastonbury 2014, she said:
    “Now, some of you may or may not know that that song was loosely based on a little bit of truth. I wrote that years ago when my husband was spending a little more time with Jolene than I thought he should be.
    I put a stop to that. I got rid of that redhead woman in a hurry.
    I want you folks to know, though, that something good can come from anything. Had it not been for that woman I would never have written ‘Jolene’ and I wouldn’t have made all that money, so thank you, Jolene.”
  • The a cappella group Pentatonix released a cover of the song with Dolly Parton herself as feature artist in September 2016. When this version entered the Top 20 of the Country chart, Parton became the first artist with Top 20 hits on the tally in the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, ’00s and ’10s.
  • The Pentatonix collaboration won the Grammy Award for Best Country Duo/Group Performance.
  • When Parton was honored with MusiCares Person Of The Year award at the Grammy Awards in 2019, she performed this song with her honorary Goddaughter, Miley Cyrus.

Comments: 19

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Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’ Still Haunts Singers

Dolly Parton in London in 1977, four years after the release of “Jolene.” Keystone/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Keystone/Getty Images

Dolly Parton in London in 1977, four years after the release of “Jolene.”

Keystone/Getty Images

Hear ‘Jolene’

Jolene

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When Dolly Parton launched her career on a country-music television show in the late 1960s, she says, she used to sign autographs every night after the broadcast.

Parton says that she got the story for her song from another redhead in her life at the time — a bank teller who was giving Parton’s new husband a little more interest than he had coming.

“She got this terrible crush on my husband,” Parton says. “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.”

200 Words

When Parton released “Jolene” in 1973, it became one of her first hit singles. The song has only 200 words — and a lot of those are repeated. But Parton says that that very simplicity, along with the song’s haunting melody, is what makes the character of “Jolene” memorable.

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“Jolene” has been covered by more than 30 singers over the years, and in several languages around the world.

Jack White’s emotional rendition of “Jolene” has been a staple of The White Stripes’ concerts for years.

“I thought to take the character and change the context and make this red-headed woman my girlfriend, and that she’s cheating on me with one of my friends,” White says. “Then, that would be what I could really get emotionally attached to.”

White says that the character of Jolene has fascinated him for a long time.

“I love the name, first off,” he says. “I thought that was an interesting name when I started hearing that song as a teenager. And I guess later on, as a songwriter, I started to think about names starting with ‘J,’ like that could be used almost accusatory, like Jezebel… Jolene.”

“Jolene” launched country singer Mindy Smith’s career five years ago, when Parton said that it was her favorite version of the song.

Smith says she could relate to the vulnerability of the woman pleading with Jolene.

“I think the main character is really the person singing about Jolene,” Smith says. “Jolene’s a mess. She just steals things.”

A Universal Character

Parton says that Jolene is so popular because everyone can relate to her feelings of inadequacy– competing with that tall redhead in the bank who was after her husband.

“She had everything I didn’t, like legs — you know, she was about 6 feet tall. And had all that stuff that some little short, sawed-off honky like me don’t have,” Parton says. “So no matter how beautiful a woman might be, you’re always threatened by certain… You’re always threatened by other women, period.”

Parton says that “Jolene” has been recorded more than any other song she’s written — in styles that range from Olivia Newton John’s 1976 disco version to the rollicking White Stripes version to the Goth rendition of the post-punk band The Sisters of Mercy.