What's Dolly Parton's Favorite Version Of Jolene?

Few country music stars are as influential and long-lasting as Dolly Parton, aside from fellow country queen Reba McEntire. Parton has an incredible discography including her most popular songs "Jolene" and "Islands in the Stream Sun," among other underrated gems. Sometimes, her covers outperformed the original version. For example, Whitney Houston's version of Parton's "I Will Always Love You" became one of the most epic vocal performances ever. Parton told The Big Issue, "I knew it was a good song but I had no idea that it could ever become what it did [with Houston]". But "Jolene" remained the most-loved song in her catalog. As Parton told the outlet, it "has been recorded more than any other song that I have ever written" — over 400 times as of 2020 and in different languages.

Parton released "Jolene" in 1973 to quick success. Though on paper the song is simple in its construction, Parton explained to NPR that the timeless adoration came from the "great chord progression." Additionally, the often-repeated title is something that "even a first-grader or a baby can sing." The origin of the song came during her early years performing on a country-music TV show. A little, red-headed girl named Jolene in the audience asked for an autograph. Parton said about the girl's name, "That is pretty...I'm going to write a song about that."

With so many covers and remixes of her classic songs, it leads us to wonder, what's Dolly Parton's favorite version of "Jolene?"

Dolly Parton's best 'Jolene' might surprise you

In November, Parton released an officially licensed remix of her song "Jolene." More surprisingly, the remix was a dance version by Destructo aka producer Gary Richards, Rolling Stone reported. It couldn't come at a better time as the line between country, dance, and pop continues to blur thanks to songs like "Old Town Road" by Lil Nas X and "22" by Taylor Swift. According to a press release by Parton, the Destructo version of "My little song 'Jolene' has been done so many different ways and I love them all, but I think this one is my favorite." She added about the up-tempo variation, "It makes me want to dance!"

The 2021 version is up against tough competition. Famous covers of "Jolene" include one by her goddaughter Miley Cyrus as part of her "Backyard Sessions" concert. In a more rock-forward variation, The White Stripes led by Jack White covered the song live. Parton told The Guardian about White, "I love him to death. [The White Stripes] did one of the greatest versions ever of Jolene."

With such a perfect song — it's in the Grammy Hall of Fame — future covers and interpretations are sure to come out. For example, Parton hoped that "Jolene" could take on another life with a different artist. Parton told The Big Issue that "nobody's ever had a really big hit record on it. I've always hoped somebody might do someday, someone like Beyoncé."