Dolly Parton Was “Surprised” by Beyoncé’s Unique “Jolene” Cover

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Dolly Parton is finally weighing in on Beyoncé’s cover of Parton’s iconic 1973 hit “Jolene.”

In a recent interview with E! News, Parton admitted she was surprised by the newest rendition of her song, since it didn’t include her original lyrics. “I think it was very bold of [Beyoncé],” she told the outlet. “When they said she was gonna do ‘Jolene,’ I expected it to be my regular one, but it wasn’t. But I love what she did to it. And as a songwriter, you love the fact that people do your songs no matter how they do them.”

arlington, texas november 23 dolly parton performs during halftime in the game between the washington commanders and the dallas cowboys at att stadium on november 23, 2023 in arlington, texas photo by ron jenkinsgetty images
Ron Jenkins

Parton then explained how Beyoncé truly made the song her own, and even changed the meaning with her new lyrics. She “wasn’t gonna go beg some other woman like I did,” said the country legend, whose original version asks Jolene not to steal her man. Instead, Parton paraphrased, the new version says, “ ‘Shit, get out here, bitch. You ain’t stealin’ mine.’ ”

While Beyoncé's take on “Jolene” was a bit of a shock to the 78-year-old country music star, she went on to say she was “proud” of the singer's entire Cowboy Carter album. “I thought she did a great job in country music, and I thought it was great,” Parton explained. “And I was just happy she did ‘Jolene.’ I, of course, would have loved to have heard how she would have done it in its original way. But of course, you know, it’s Beyoncé. Yeah, her life is different than mine.”

Parton recorded an interlude to “Jolene,” named “Dolly P,” for Cowboy Carter. When the album was released, she said she and Beyoncé celebrated working with each other. “And we were sending each other flowers and little love notes and all that,” Parton said. “So, yeah, it’s all good.”

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