Dolly Parton has written hundreds of songs over the course of her long career, including hits like “9 to 5,” “Coat of Many Colors,” “I Will Always Love You,” and “Here You Come Again.” And many other artists have covered her tunes, from Whitney Houston to Sinéad O’Connor to Tina Turner.
One of Parton’s most-covered songs is “Jolene.” A hit for the country singer when it was released in 1974, it’s since been covered by Oliva Newton-John, a capella group Pentatonix, goth rockers Sisters of Mercy, and Parton’s goddaughter Miley Cyrus, each of whom put their own spin on the song where a wife begs another woman, “please don’t take my man.” But according to Parton, one of the best versions of the song is by the garage-rock duo The White Stripes.
The White Stripes cover ‘Jolene’
Detroit band The White Stripes released a cover of “Jolene” as the B-side to the single “Hello Operator” (from their second album, De Stijl) in 2000. They also incorporated the song into their live sets in the early 2000s. In 2004, they released a live version of the song as a single.
The White Stripes’ version of the track struck a chord with Parton, who sang its praises in a 2016 interview with The Guardian, where she also talked about her fondness for singer-guitarist Jack White.
“Well, I love him to death,” she said. “[The White Stripes] did one of the greatest versions ever of ‘Jolene.’”
Dolly Parton hinted at a possible collaboration with Jack White
In the interview, Parton also hinted that she was interested in collaborating with White.
“I had a chance to have dinner with Jack in LA not long ago and we talked about the possibility of someday down the road that we may get together to do something,” she shared. “I haven’t had time to sit down and really focus with someone else on an album. But he would be someone wonderful. And I think we would make some beautiful music together.”
So far, no White-Parton partnership has emerged. But White has a history of working with legendary female musicians. He produced Loretta Lynn’s 2004 album Van Lear Rose and also recorded a duet with the “Fist City” singer. White has also worked with rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson.
Jack White said people have ‘underestimated’ Dolly Parton
In a 2010 conversation with The Guardian, White was asked about The White Stripes‘ cover of “Jolene.” He responded that he didn’t think the Tennessee-born musician got all the respect she deserved, despite her long and successful career.
“I think Dolly Parton, like Loretta Lynn, is one of those artists who has tended to be under-estimated,” White said. “Sometimes it takes the passage of time to appreciate their greatness but in the end they win because their music lasts.”
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