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When you think about Dolly Parton, songwriting probably isn’t the first thing you think about. In fact, it isn’t the first two things you think about. (Ba da boom!) But you’ll be hard-pressed to find any songwriter with four better compositions than “I Will Always Love You,” “Coat of Many Colors,” “Nine to Five,” and of course, “Jolene.”
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Released in 1973, “Jolene” was Dolly’s second number one country single. As you know, it’s the story of a woman who implores a rival not to take her man “just because you can.” The four rising words “Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene” at the beginning of the chorus are as memorable as any in modern country or pop music.
Dolly is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame. “Jolene” has been covered by musicians as diverse as The White Stripes (who took it to number sixteen in the UK), Olivia Newton-John, and post-punk band Sisters of Mercy.
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