It was released on October 15, as the first single and title track from her album of the same name , produced by Bob Ferguson. The song was ranked No. In the film The Intervention Clea Duvall ; , Annie Melanie Lynskey tells Lola Alia Shawkat , "Nobody likes a Jolene," after the younger woman stirs up trouble among a group of older couples by making a play for several individuals among them. A sign of the international extent of the song's popularity appeared during the Covid pandemic when the New Zealand government put the country in lockdown. A newspaper summary of "essential things to know" explained that washing one's hands with soap should take "as long as it takes to sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice or the chorus of Dolly Parton's hit song Jolene. Throughout the song, Parton implores Jolene "please, don't take him just because you can. Onstage in , Dolly told the audience "Jolene" was a true story and the reason she did not like to sing it too often. In , the podcast Dolly Parton's America had an episode addressing the question of whether the narrator's focus on Jolene's beauty and desirability is indicative of her own romantic longings. A musicologist wrote and performed a fourth verse which makes this interpretation explicit; when the podcast's hosts played audio of this performance for Parton, she responded that this was "another take on it". 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.
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. 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 greatest songs of all time. And is there any truth to the legendary song?
The song is so important to Dolly, that when collaborating with Netflix to create the eight-part anthology series Heartstrings which came out on November 22 , she named an entire episode after it and had actresses Julianne Hough and Kimberly Williams-Paisley illustrate the story behind the recording. So, what do the lyrics mean? In , Dolly opened up to NPR about where she first got the idea for the now-iconic song. Even though the lyrics revolve around being jealous of another woman, the origin of "Jolene" actually came from a much more innocent place.