Song of the Day #4,133: ‘Jolene’ – Dolly Parton

Proving there is no idea that won’t eventually end up as NetFlix programming, premiering on the platform this November is Heartstrings, an anthology series based on the songs of Dolly Parton.

Each of the first season’s eight episodes will be introduced by Ms. Parton and follow the plot of one of her many country tunes. Dolly plays a role in the first episode, based on perhaps her most well-known and beloved hit, ‘Jolene.’

This week I will pay Dolly some much-deserved respect and feature five of the songs that inspired episodes of Heartstrings. First up is, of course, ‘Jolene.’

As great as this song is, the lyrics have always struck me as rather pathetic. How flimsy is this relationship if an auburn-haired vixen can destroy it at will? And if your man is that winnable by another woman, why bother lamenting the prospect of his departure? Good riddance, pal!

I’m curious to see how this song translates to a 30-minute TV episode. Julianne Hough leads the cast as Jolene, suggesting it might be a character study of the kind of woman who makes other women wildly insecure. My guess is it will plumb the insecurities of Jolene herself, breathing life into a woman thus far portrayed as an almost otherworldly villain.

[Chorus]
Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
I’m begging of you please don’t take my man
Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
Please don’t take him just because you can

[Verse 1]
Your beauty is beyond compare
With flaming locks of auburn hair
With ivory skin and eyes of emerald green
Your smile is like a breath of spring
Your voice is soft like summer rain
And I cannot compete with you, Jolene

[Verse 2]
He talks about you in his sleep
There’s nothing I can do to keep
From crying when he calls your name, Jolene
And I can easily understand
How you could easily take my man
But you don’t know what he means to me, Jolene

[Chorus]
Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
I’m begging of you please don’t take my man
Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
Please don’t take him just because you can

[Verse 3]
You could have your choice of men
But I could never love again
He’s the only one for me, Jolene
I had to have this talk with you
My happiness depends on you
And whatever you decide to do, Jolene

[Chorus]
Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
I’m begging of you please don’t take my man
Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
Please don’t take him even though you can
Jolene, Jolene

One thought on “Song of the Day #4,133: ‘Jolene’ – Dolly Parton

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I think these lyrics belong to a much earlier time. I don’t see them being written today.

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