It’s been almost fifty years since Dolly Parton released “Jolene,” but she’s giving fans a chance to make their mark on the memorable song. Parton has asked the public to share their best versions of her hit song using the hashtag #JoleneChallenge.
While many people took up on the challenge, there’s one that cut above the rest, and it’s the family band called The Petersens. The talented family from Branson, Missouri, put on a magical version of “Jolene,” and it took the internet by storm. It’s actually their most popular cover to date.
The Petersens are composed of siblings Katie Petersen on fiddle, Ellen Petersen on banjo, Matt Petersen on guitar, Julianne Petersen on mandolin, and their mother Karen Petersen on bass, along with a close friend, Emmett Franz on dobro. Every time their natural musical inclinations come together, they never fail to produce beautiful and heartfelt performances.
The Surprising Meaning Behind Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” Song
It’s quite hard to imagine any woman posing a threat to the country queen Dolly Parton, even with a woman “with flaming locks of auburn hair” and “with ivory skin and eyes of emerald green.” But that’s actually the story behind Parton’s 1973 hit, “Jolene,” in which one woman was begging another not to take her man.
And what’s surprising was that Dolly Parton actually drew inspiration from her own life story. Soon after she married her husband Carl Dean in 1966, an attractive red-headed bank teller allegedly started flirting with him. Of course, this did not sit well with Parton and prompted her to write out her feelings.
“She got this terrible crush on my husband,” Parton revealed. “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 superstar further added that the woman had everything she didn’t have, like gorgeous legs, “you know, she was about 6 feet tall. And had all that stuff that some little short, sawed-off honky like me don’t have,” Parton said.
But the name “Jolene” was inspired by another redhead: a young girl she once met in the autograph line during one of her concerts.
“One night, I was on stage, and there was this beautiful little girl — she was probably eight years old at the time,” Parton said. “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.'”
Most Covered Song Over The Years
When Parton released “Jolene” in 1973, it became one of her first hit singles. And according to the singer, of all the songs she has written, “Jolene” is the song most recorded by other artists. It has at least 30 well-known covers, and we’re pretty sure The Petersens’ rendition is one that would make the country queen proud.
This family definitely gave the country queen’s classic song some justice. Guess that’s what you get when you’re playing with your family!