It’s pretty much common knowledge at this point that Dolly Partonwrote her iconic song “Jolene” about a real life girl.
Released in 1973, it was one of her first big hit singles, and served as the title track for her 13th studio album. She famously wrote it on the same day in 1972 that she wrote her other massive hit, “I Will Always Love You”.
But, she recently sat down with Access to talk about her new baking line, her relationship with husband Carl Dean, as well as giving a little more backstory to what really went down with “Jolene”.
She says she started to notice that Carl was going to the bank way more often than he needed to back then:
“Well, actually, it was based on a little truth. Her name was not Jolene, but she was working at the bank, and she was this beautiful girl. And that was bad enough, that he was having to go to the bank as much as he was going.
And I kept thinking, we ain’t got that kinda money, not yet anyway. He was in asphalt paving, he and his father, and I said, ‘Why are you having to talk to her all the time?'”
Carl assured her there was nothing more to it, and Dolly wanted to know why there wasn’t someone else he could talk to at the bank if that was the case:
“And he said, ‘I’m trying to get a loan, I’m trying to do this for our asphalt paving company.’
And I said, ‘Well, couldn’t you talk to one of those hairy legged boys about a thing like that?’ And he said, ‘No’.”
Dolly was gonna set him straight regardless of why he was really there, though, and told him he better act right or else…
“And I said, ‘Look, you better be talkin’ to one of those boys, or it’s gonna be your ass and your fault! So there’s your asphalt.'”
Spoken like a true queen… I have a feeling he never went out of his way to talk to “Jolene” again.
Decades later though, Dolly looks back on the situation and realizes that it was more about her own insecurities than anything else.
But hey, at least we got one of the best country songs of all time out of it, right?
“But I was just jealous, ‘cuz she was prettier than me and I think I just felt threatened. He didn’t have a thing going with her, but he was flirtin’.
But I’m a flirt, too. Anyways, I thought, this makes a great idea for a song. So I wrote it.”
I mean, c’mon… there’s no real competing with Dolly: