Beyoncé Changes Lyrics To ‘Jolene’ By Dolly Parton And Everyone’s Saying The Same Thing

Beyonce has changed the lyrics to Dolly Parton's 'Jolene' and it's left everyone saying the same thing.
Credit: Alamy

Beyoncé’s new album contains a rewritten version of ‘Jolene’ by Dolly Parton – but not everyone is pleased with the new lyrics…

The ‘Crazy In Love’ singer, 42, shocked fans by announcing an upcoming country-influenced album during her cameo at Usher’s Super Bowl performance.

And after a whole lot of anticipation, Beyoncé released her latest album, ‘Cowboy Carter’, on March 29.

The album features a whole host of surprises, including a guest appearance from Miley Cyrus, and even a Beatles cover.

However, it’s the updated version of Parton’s classic ‘Jolene’ that has truly left the internet divided…

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Beyoncé is one of the most idolised singers in the world and has a catalogue of hit songs such as ‘Single Ladies’, ‘Halo’ and ‘If I Were A Boy’.

She dropped ‘Act I: Renaissance’ in July 2022, featuring banging tracks such as ‘Break My Soul’ and ‘Cuff It’.

It was critically acclaimed for its joyful vibe, as well as Beyoncé’s vocals, and many were super excited to see what she would do next.

Beyoncé’s new album contains a rewritten version of Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’. Credit: Alamy

And following her Super Bowl cameo, it looked like fans had some answers, as she released the first two singles from her latest album, titled ‘Texas Hold ‘Em’ and ’16 Carriages’.

This week, the rest of the album, now known to be named ‘Cowboy Carter’ dropped.

So far, it’s received more mixed reviews than ‘Renaissance’ – and people have taken a particular issue with Bey’s cover of a Parton classic…

‘Cowboy Carter’ contains a cover of the legendary ‘Jolene’ – complete with an intro from Dolly herself.

In the original 1973 track, Parton is ‘begging’ a woman whose ‘beauty is beyond compare’ not to steal her ‘man’.

Dolly Parton
The cover seems to have the seal of approval from Dolly Parton herself. Credit: Alamy

However, Queen Bey has put her own spin on the track, even altering the legendary lyrics – and many people are not too happy with the change…

Before the song starts, Dolly sends an interlude message to ‘Miss Honey B’, saying: “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.”

Part of the superstar’s revised lyrics say: “Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, I’m warning you, don’t come for my man… Don’t take the chance because you think you can.”

Compared to Dolly’s original: “Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, I’m begging of you please don’t take my man … Please don’t take him just because you can.”

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Some people have criticised this subtle alteration of tone, believing it makes the song less meaningful.

One opines: “I was so excited about ‘Jolene’ – I love Beyoncé, I love that song – but I don’t know how I feel about this. I’m not sure that ‘Jolene’ works when you take the pain out of it. If you’re not threatened by her, why are you plaintively singing her name repeatedly?”

Another agrees: “Agree. What makes ‘Jolene’ so visceral is that it’s a love song to the other woman, seeing her through prisms of desire, desire for the way she’s desired. I get that Bey is reclaiming power, but the song is about powerlessness: even if Jolene doesn’t take him, Dolly still loses.”

While a third adds: “‘Jolene’ is about the pleading, the desperation, the borderline homoe**ticism of it. You take all of that out? You’re replacing begging with warning? You stop talking about how hot Jolene is to talk about your man, your man, your man?? Ugh. Booo booo tomatoes.”

Some people are criticising Beyoncé’s subtle alteration of the classic track. Credit: Alamy

In spite of the critique, there are some who are loving the change.

One fan pens: “I love Beyoncé’s version of ‘Jolene’ because she wasn’t begging her, she was WARNING her. That’s my girl!”

“Dolly Parton calling Becky with the good hair a hussie, leading into Beyoncé doing her version of ‘Jolene’ is my multiverse of madness,” another laughs.

And it seems to have the seal of approval from Parton herself, who writes: “Wow, I just heard ‘Jolene’. Beyoncé is giving that girl some trouble and she deserves it!”

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Written by Annie Walton Doyle

Annie Walton Doyle is a content editor at IGV who specialises in trending, lifestyle and entertainment news. She graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London, with a degree in English Literature. Annie has previously worked with organisations such as The Huffington Post, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Harvard University, the Pulitzer Prize and 22 Words.