Lovely. If you're wondering, as I was, how Dolly Parton can still be so beautiful — she's only 70. And what does Jolene look like after all these years? Has she kept her more-beautiful-than-Dolly-Parton looks all this time?
In the real life of Dolly Parton, Jolene is a composite of 2 individuals — one an 8-year-old fan...
"One night, I was on stage, and there was this beautiful little girl — she was probably 8 years old at the time," Parton says. "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. 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.' I said, 'That is pretty. That sounds like a song. I'm going to write a song about that.'"... and the other a grown woman — a bank teller — who flirted with Dolly's husband:
"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."Hearing the song again just now, I got the feeling that "Jolene" is a sisterhood song. The problem is the man who has fallen in love with another woman, and he's hopeless, calling out to her in his sleep. The singer's recourse is to reach out to the woman, a show of belief that the women can work together and do what the man cannot do — the right thing.
As for the music of it:
"It's a great chord progression — people love that 'Jolene' lick," Parton says. "It's as much a part of the song almost as the song. And because it's just the same word over and over, even a first-grader or a baby can sing, 'Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene.' It's like, how hard can that be?"