Listen to Dolly Parton intro Beyoncé’s fiery ‘Jolene’ cover

Beyonce and Dolly Parton
Robyn Beck and Valerie Macon/AFP | Getty Images

Beyoncé’s long-awaited new country album, “Cowboy Carter,” is here, and it finds Queen Bey taking on the genre of country with equal parts respect and sass. Nowhere is that mix of attitudes more prevalent than on her cover of a revered Dolly Parton classic: “Jolene.”

Today’s release of “Cowboy Carter” confirmed a couple of things Beyoncé fans had suspected since the tracklist was released earlier this week: First, that she would be doing a cover of Dolly Parton’s 1973 song along with original twists on country like the already popular “Texas Hold ‘Em.” Second, that the track “Dolly P” is in fact an intro to “Jolene,” done by Dolly herself.

MORE: Listen to Beyoncé’s new album on Apple Music

Give it a listen on the video below, from Beyoncé’s YouTube channel.

MORE: Watch people line dancing to Beyoncé’s new country song ‘Texas Hold ‘Em’

“Hey, Miss Honeybee, it’s Dolly P,” Parton chimes in over the opening notes. “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.”

Hair of a different color indeed. On the original song, Dolly is begging a pretty young thing, “please don’t take my man.” In the version we hear on “Cowboy Carter,” Beyoncé isn’t begging — she’s issuing a warning.

“You don’t want no heat with me, Jolene,” sings Beyoncé, making it clear that while Jolene’s beauty is still “beyond compare,” she’s not giving up her man without a fight. Her version transforms Parton’s song from a lovelorn lament to a brutal takedown of the titular homewrecker. “There’s a thousand girls in every room / that act as desperate as you do,” Bey sings at one point. Ouch.

It’s all very on-brand for the strongwoman of pop (and now country), but what does the original singer think? Judging by Dolly Parton’s X account (@DollyParton), she’s as tickled to hear Beyoncé’s version as she was when Lil Nas X and Miley Cyrus put their own stamps on the song. Late last night, she posted a picture of herself in classic Dolly mode.

Parton’s caption on the photo? “Just call me Dolly P.”

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About the Author
Tod Caviness
Tod covered everything from nightlife to Orlando's literary scene (yes, it has one) during his 11 years with the Orlando Sentinel. These days, he's a freelance journalist and recovering poet who lives in Central Florida with his lovely wife, two brilliant kids and one underachieving dog. Visit Scripps News to see more of Tod's work.

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