Beyoncé’s Version Of “Jolene” Debuts At #7 On Billboard Hot 100 Chart, Surpassing Dolly Parton’s Peak At #60 Over 50 Years Ago

Dolly Parton Beyonce country music
Youtube/Dolly Parton/Beyoncé/Parkwood Entertainment

Quite a record.

Beyoncé’s new rendition of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” officially debuted at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week, becoming the first version of the song to reach the Top 10.

“Jolene” was written solely by Dolly and released as the title track to her album of the same name in 1973, when it eventually peaked at #60 on the Hot 100 chart. It of course became a #1 hit on the U.S. Country Songs chart, and has remained a country standard ever since.

And seeing as Beyoncé’s version has become an early fan-favorite and is already streaming like crazy, I would be surprised to see it eventually crack the Top 5, and potentially even become a #1 hit for Beyoncé:


And of course, Beyoncé’s version was included on her recent Cowboy Carter album, which is nothing like the original, though, and Beyoncé completely redid it in terms of the production, and mostly, the songwriting. It’s rewritten from top to bottom, aside from the “Jolene” part in the chorus, and Dolly had previously requested that Beyoncé cover her song, though she clearly took some major liberties with it that Dolly herself loves.

Dolly, who received full writing credit and is listed as the sole writer of the song (even though there were likely many involved in this 2024 version of “Jolene”), actually introduces the new “Jolene” on Cowboy Carter, calling in to leave a message for Bey, saying:

“Hey Mrs. Honeybee, it’s Dolly P. You know that hussy with the good hair you sing about? Reminded me of someone I knew back when.

Except she has flaming locks of auburn hair. Bless her heart. Just a hair of a different color, but it hurts just the same.”

That “hussy with the good hair” is a character Beyoncé fans know as “Becky,” who is featured on her 2016 Grammy-nominated Lemonade album, which focused on infidelity in her marriage with her husband Jay-Z:

Then, it goes straight into “JOLENE,” which is completely rewritten and much more modern than the version Queen Dolly put out in the 70’s. Beyoncé takes a much harder stance when it comes to her “Jolene,” though:

“There’s a thousand girls in every room
That act as desperate as you do
You a bird, go on and sing your tune, Jolene (What?)
I had to have this talk with you
‘Cause I hate to have to act the fool
Your peace depends on how you move, Jolene”

Beyoncé’s mom, Tina Knowles, has Louisiana Creole heritage, so fans are speculating it might a sort of tribute to her, too, because of this line… I’m not a Beyoncé expert, though, so I really can’t say one way or the other:

“Jolene, I know I’m a queen, Jolene
I’m still a Creole banjee bitch from Louisianne (Don’t try me)”

I’m sure Bey pulled inspiration from more than one place, because she really did recreate the entire song, while using the title “Jolene” and interpolating a lot of the original music. You can see what you think about it for yourself and listen here:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock