Who Was ‘Jolene’?
If someone were to ask you 'What's the most recognizable song in country music history?', well, there is no definitive answer.
But I'm bettin' Dolly Parton's 'Jolene' would be somewhere high on that list. I mean, really, who hasn't at least hummed along with that all-time great classic? The song went beyond country music. There are people who don't like country (really, are there??) that still love Dolly and her music. Dolly is more than a country music icon, she's an American music icon.
And one of her most iconic songs is 'Jolene'. So, was Jolene? Was she real?
Well, according to Dolly, yes....yes, Jolene was real, though Jolene was probably not her name. It seems there was a red-headed bank clerk that was, ah, flirting with her husband Carl back when they were newly married (By the way, Dolly and Carl celebrated their 50th anniversary not that long ago). And when you have the creative talent Dolly has, well, you become a song. And not just a song, but a huge 1973 smash hit that Dolly still sings today. (And, when I saw Dolly at the Denny Sanford Premier Center last year, thousands of fans sing right along with her!)
So that's where the song came from, but since Dolly didn't know the name of the flirting bank clerk, where did the title 'Jolene' come from?
It seems Dolly was giving an autograph to a young fan, asked her name, and when the reply came 'Jolene', the title of the song was born.
And, as they say, the rest is American music history.
So one more time, sing along with Dolly's 'Jolene'.
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