Beyoncé Has Officially Outperformed Dolly Parton With “Jolene”

“Jolene” gave Dolly Parton her second No. 1 single in 1973. More than 40 years later, it is still widely considered one of the best country songs of all time. Beyond that, however, The Tennessean lauded the song’s ability to cross “genre and generations” and called it “a once-in-a-world song without boundaries.” Beyoncé, another artist with cross-genre appeal, recently released her own take on the timeless classic. And for all the barriers Dolly broke with “Jolene,” Beyoncé’s version has found its own glass ceilings to shatter.

Videos by American Songwriter

[RELATED: “Jolene” vs. “Jolene”: How Beyoncé Breathed New Life Into the Dolly Parton Classic]

Beyoncé Overtakes Dolly With Her “Jolene” Cover

Beyoncé dropped Cowboy Carter, her long-anticipated foray into country music, on March 29. The rootsy follow-up to 2022’s Renaissance has already ascended to the top of the Billboard 200 chart. What’s more, the Lemonade singer’s rendition of “Jolene” debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. This is big, as it becomes the first version of the heavily-covered song to crack the Top 10.

While “Jolene” obviously became a No. 1 U.S. Country Song, the 1973 single peaked at No. 60 on the Hot 100 chart.

The tracks share a name and subject matter, but the similarities largely end there. Where Dolly is imploring (I’m begging you, please don’t take my man,) Beyoncé is commanding (I’m warning you, don’t come for my man.)

Comparisons between the two are inevitable. However, one X/Twitter user urged fans to see the songs as “cousins, not sisters.”

“Beyonce’s Jolene is not a replacement of Dolly’s (who wrote both songs,)” they wrote. “It is an addition to the narrative, it is an interpretation, and version of.”

Another fan added that Queen Bey’s version helped them appreciate the original that much more. “beyonce’s jolene got me in the mood to go back and relisten to dolly’s and that is seriously one of the greatest songs ever written/performed,” they wrote. “dolly parton is a treasure.”

The New ‘Jolene’ Has the Dolly Seal of Approval

Much like the rest of Cowboy Carter, everyone has an opinion of Beyoncé’s spin on “Jolene.” But Dolly’s is perhaps the only one that matters, and she loves it.

“Wow, I just heard ‘Jolene,'” Dolly wrote in a March 29 Instagram post. “Beyoncé is giving that girl some trouble and she deserves it!”

Featured image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartRadio

One Comment

Leave a Reply
  1. I must confess that I’ve never liked Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” and don’t doubt that Beyonce’s version is at least as good, if not better–though I haven’t yet listened to it and am in no hurry to do so. I’ve read the lyrics, and it seems to me to come close to being a parody of Dolly’s song. I have no problem with parodies, and have written a few myself. At any rate, the new interpretation seems to be, in some ways, a more aggressive take on Loretta Lynn’s “You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man.” That, of course, is just my own opinion, and not likely to be shared by many.

Leave a Reply

Elton John Honored With Gershwin Prize

Joni Mitchell, Metallica, & More Honor Elton John: Library of Congress Gershwin Prize