Dolly Parton - Jolene - 1974

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Dolly Parton - Jolene - 1974


Dolly Parton's "Jolene" from 1974 is a classic in the country music genre and has been covered by numerous artists. It's a song rich in storytelling and emotion, set to a memorable melody. "Jolene" tells the story of a woman pleading with another, Jolene, not to take her man just because she can. The lyrics explore themes of love, jealousy, and desperation. The song's simplicity in structure but depth in emotion makes it a timeless piece.


"Jolene" was released in October 1973 and became one of the most successful singles of Dolly Parton's career. The song was part of Parton's album of the same name. It's widely regarded not only as a significant work in Dolly Parton's career but also in the country music genre. The song's lyrical content, based on a real-life encounter Dolly Parton had with a red-headed bank clerk who flirted with her husband, adds to its intrigue.

Musical Composition

Musically, "Jolene" is notable for its simplicity and effectiveness. The song is characterized by a repeating 4/4 time signature with a chord progression that's easy to follow. Its catchy guitar riff and the use of traditional country instruments, such as the banjo, give it a classic country feel. Dolly Parton's distinctive voice, with its emotive inflections, adds depth to the song's narrative.

Cultural Impact

Since its release, "Jolene" has become an iconic song, covered by various artists across different genres. It's been interpreted in multiple languages, showing its universal appeal. The song's narrative has been analyzed in various academic and cultural studies, reflecting on themes of female empowerment, vulnerability, and rivalry. "Jolene" has been included in numerous "best-of" lists and has been recognized with awards and accolades.

Further Reading

  1. Dolly Parton's Life and Career
  2. History of Country Music
  3. Understanding Music Composition
  4. How Music Influences Culture

Interactive Tasks

Quiz: Questions on the song

What year was "Jolene" released? (1973) (!1975) (!1972) (!1974)

What is the main theme of "Jolene"? (Jealousy and desperation) (!Happiness and love) (!Revenge) (!Heartbreak)

Which instrument is prominently featured in "Jolene"? (Banjo) (!Piano) (!Electric guitar) (!Violin)

What is the time signature of "Jolene"? (4/4) (!3/4) (!6/8) (!2/4)

What inspired Dolly Parton to write "Jolene"? (A real-life encounter with a red-headed bank clerk) (!A fictional story) (!A movie she saw) (!A dream)

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

What genre of music is Dolly Parton most associated with? (Country) (!Pop) (!Rock) (!R&B)

In which state was Dolly Parton born? (Tennessee) (!Kentucky) (!Texas) (!California)

Besides being a singer, what other role is Dolly Parton famous for? (Songwriter) (!Actress) (!Dancer) (!Painter)

What is one of Dolly Parton's most famous philanthropic efforts? (Imagination Library) (!Art for Kids) (!Music for All) (!Feed the Children)

Which Dolly Parton song is known for its association with the movie "9 to 5"? (9 to 5) (!I Will Always Love You) (!Islands in the Stream) (!Coat of Many Colors)

Quiz: Questions on the lyrics

What is the name of the woman the narrator pleads with in "Jolene"? (Jolene) (!Marlene) (!Darlene) (!Eileen)

What color hair does Jolene have in the song? (Red) (!Blonde) (!Brown) (!Black)

How does the narrator describe Jolene's beauty? (Beyond compare) (!Ordinary) (!Pleasant) (!Unremarkable)

What does the narrator fear Jolene will do? (Take her man) (!Steal her job) (!Spread rumors) (!Break her heart)

Which of the following lines is NOT in the song "Jolene"? (!"Your beauty is beyond compare") ("I'm begging of you please don't take my man") ("Your voice is like a breath of spring") ("My happiness depends on you")


Dolly Parton Tennessee
1973 Release Year of Jolene
Banjo Featured Instrument in Jolene
Songwriting Dolly Parton's Other Profession
Jealousy and Desperation Main Themes of Jolene

Open Tasks


  1. Write a Poem: Write a short poem inspired by the themes of "Jolene".
  2. Create a Playlist: Make a playlist of songs that share similar themes with "Jolene".
  3. Draw a Scene: Draw a scene inspired by the lyrics of "Jolene".


  1. Cover a Song: Record a cover version of "Jolene" in your own style.
  2. Analyze the Lyrics: Write an essay analyzing the themes and storytelling in "Jolene".
  3. Research Country Music: Research the history of country music and how "Jolene" fits into it.


  1. Compose Music: Compose a song inspired by "Jolene", focusing on its musical style.
  2. Study Dolly Parton's Career: Write a detailed report on Dolly Parton's impact on music and culture.
  3. Create a Short Film: Make a short film that tells a story inspired by "Jolene".
  4. Organize a Music Event: Organize a local music event featuring songs like "Jolene".

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Oral Exam

  1. Discuss the Influence: Discuss how "Jolene" influenced modern country music.
  2. Compare Songs: Compare "Jolene" to another Dolly Parton song and discuss their differences and similarities.
  3. Explore Themes: Discuss the themes of jealousy and desperation in music and how they are portrayed differently across genres.
  4. Evaluate Cultural Impact: Evaluate the cultural impact of "Jolene" in the 1970s versus today.
  5. Analyze Lyrics: Analyze the lyrics of "Jolene" and discuss how they contribute to the storytelling of the song.

OERs on the Topic


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