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The Amazing Story Behind "Jolene," Dolly Parton's Legendary Song: "I Was Jealous"

The country hit will be covered by Beyoncé on her upcoming album, Cowboy Carter.

By Jackie Manno

It's been officially confirmed that Beyoncé's upcoming album, Cowboy Carter, will feature a cover of one of the most iconic country songs of all time: ''Jolene'' by Dolly Parton.

The news was revealed on March 27 when Queen Bey dropped a graphic that fans figured out was the track list for her eighth studio album. Less than 24 hours later, it's also been revealed that Parton has her own interlude on Cowboy Carter called "Dolly P." 

In anticipation of the project's drop, Parton took the time to re-promote her classic track that started it all. "Listen to my original 'Jolene' while you wait for @Beyonce’s COWBOY CARTER - Dolly P," she tweeted.

Read everything you need to know about the song's origins, below. 

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A split of Dolly Parton and Beyonce

The history behind ''Jolene'' by Dolly Parton

Released on Parton's 1974 album of the same name, ''Jolene'' remains one of her biggest hits to date, reaching the number one position on the Billboard US Country Songs chart. Lyrically, the song tells the story of a woman fearful that her husband is going to fall in love with a woman named Jolene.

Parton was inspired when a bank teller kept flirting with her husband, Carl Thomas Dean. 50 years later, Parton reflected on how the tune affected her relationship with Dean when she appeared on BBC's The One Show in 2023. 

"He was a little embarrassed when I wrote the song 'Jolene' because, actually, it wasn't as serious [as it seems]. I was just jealous 'cause she was a beautiful woman and he was just flirting," she said with a laugh.

Dolly Parton on the red carpet for her Rockstar VIP Album Release Party

RELATED: Dolly Parton Has a Secret Song in a Time Capsule That She's Dying to Release

In 2021, Rolling Stone ranked ''Jolene'' on the 63rd position on its ''500 Greatest Songs of All Time'' list. “'Jolene' showed how she could put her stamp on traditional country,'' the outlet wrote of the track. 

Parton also wrote ''Jolene'' the same day she penned another one of her other legendary hits, ''I Will Always Love You.'' 

Popular covers of ''Jolene'' by Dolly Parton

Along with Beyoncé's much-anticipated cover, other versions of ''Jolene'' have been recorded by The White Stripes, Lil Nas X, Pentatonix, Olivia Newton-John, and more. 

In 2012, Miley Cyrus' version of ''Jolene'' went ultra viral. 10 years later, the former The Voice Coach joined forces with Parton, who is also her godmother, for a performance of the song during the ''Miley's New Year's Eve Party'' special. 

Chapel Hart's updated take on ''Jolene'' by Dolly Parton

During the Season 17 auditions of America's Got Talent, country group Chapel Hart performed their original song titled ''You Can Have Him, Jolene,'' thats lyrics are a reimagined version of the hypothetical rivalry between Parton and Jolene. 

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"We were so inspired by the song 'Jolene,' and we just love the storyline. And we figured, though, from 1973 to 2022, we could not still be fighting over the same man," singer Danica Hart explained. "So we decided to tell her, 'You can just have him, Jolene.'"  

Parton herself was impressed by Chapel Hart's interpretation of her work. ''What a fun new take on my song!'' Parton wrote on her X account. 

RELATED: Dolly Parton Covers Queen for the Paris 2024 Olympics

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