Remember when Dolly Parton teamed up with Pentatonix for a special rendition of the country legend’s hit “Jolene”? It happened four years ago, and it was such a treat. Parton sang the lead vocals, while Pentatonix sang back-up.
Parton said, “we had lots of fun rearranging the song,” and singing with the Pentatonix “was pure magic.”
Well, that’s no longer a surprise as the incredibly successful a cappella group has been winning over the hearts of their astounded viewers, thanks to their searing talent and infectious personalities. The group has been gracing us with their outstanding covers ever since they won The Sing-Off in 2011. But they called the experience of singing with the blonde bombshell “a dream come true.” They tweeted in response to Parton, “It was magical singing with YOU!! We will never forget it!”
The Fascinating Untold Story Behind The Lyrics of “Jolene”
Released back in 1973, Dolly Parton’s hit song “Jolene” is undoubtedly one of the most beloved songs of all time. In fact, Rolling Stone magazine named it on the list of “the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” The song has been performed by musicians all over the world and continues to be covered, but it is still very much a song clearly identified with Parton.
In 2008, Parton opened up to NPR about where she first got the idea for her iconic song. Even though the lyrics sing about being jealous of another woman, the origin of “Jolene” actually came from a much more wholesome place.
“One night, I was on stage, and there was this beautiful little girl — she was probably eight years old at the time,” Dolly 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. 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.'”
Lo and behold, the Queen of Country, did just that. But while Parton may have used the girl’s name for her new song, she drew further inspiration from her own life story. Soon after Parton married her husband Carl Dean in 1966, an attractive red-headed bank teller apparently started flirting with him. Of course, this didn’t sit well with Parton. The incident prompted her to write out her feelings into a song.
“She got this terrible crush on my husband,” Parton said. “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.”
The country star definitely “got rid of that redhead woman in a hurry … 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.” So, thank you, Jolene.
Watch Dolly Parton’s epic collaboration with Pentatonix below.