Dolly Parton Is Still Looking for the Girl Who Inspired Her Hit Song ‘Jolene’

Dolly Parton is inspired by her music from everywhere. She writes about the sources of her songs in the forthcoming book Dolly Parton, Songmaker: My Life in Lyrics. Many Dolly fans may already be familiar with some of these stories. Songs like “Jolene” are too famous to be unfamiliar.

Dolly Parton Heartstrings
Dolly Parton | Tina Rowden / Netflix

Parton appeared on it Oprah Conversations on 13 November. Winfrey asked Parton more about “Jolene’s” story, and is still waiting for it to end.

Dolly Parton remembers the real Jolene

In 2008, Parton reported NPR the story of how she wrote the song. She met a young girl in the middle of one of her shows.

One night, I was on stage, and there was this beautiful little girl – she was probably 8 years old at the time. And she had this beautiful red hair, this beautiful skin, those beautiful green eyes, and she was looking up at me, holding, you know, for self-expression. I said, ‘Well, you’re the best little thing I’ve ever seen. So what’s your name? ‘And she said,’ Jolene. ‘ And I said, ‘Jolene. Jolene. Jolene. Jolene. ‘I said,’ That’s fine. That sounds like a song. I’m going to write a song about that. ‘

Dolly Parton, NPR, 10/9/08

Dolly Parton then updated Jolene’s story

Parton told Winfrey that she got the name from that young autograph seeker, but the story of the song from her husband.

Singer Jolene Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton | Tina Rowden / Netflix

So far, there are many more Jolenes in the world thanks to Parton’s song.

“I have a lot of Jolenes,” Parton said. “Some reporters somewhere in our area in TN have a girl named Jolene and people always come up to me and say Jolene by name. My parents named me after your song. So many Jolenes are named after the song. It’s a good name. It’s really a beautiful name. ”

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