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When Did Dolly Parton Write “Jolene” and “I Will Always Love You”?

Dolly Parton, the iconic country singer, songwriter, and actress who captivated the audiences of different generations, is a musical genius who has written thousands of songs throughout the years. Most of her music has been covered by newer artists and is still loved by many. But did you know that two of her most famous songs were written in one night?

“Jolene” and “I Will Always Love You” hit #1 in US Country Charts, went Platinum, and were inducted in Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Songs of All Time. Dolly Parton wrote both songs on the same day, claiming it was a good writing day.

A Good Writing Day

Dolly Parton, the iconic country musician, was interviewed on the Bobby Bones Show in 2017. In one part of the segment, Bobby Bones asked Parton about her platinum hits;  Jolene and I Will Always Love You.

Parton, who recalled her creative process, remembers writing the songs sometime in 1972. She then said that it was a good writing day since she was able to compose those two songs then. (Source: Snopes)

In another interview with GQ, Parton mentions that she couldn’t remember if she wrote the two songs on the same day. But she can certainly say that both were written in the same week or so.

She supported her claim by the fact that when she was going through her old stuff in her basement, Parton found an old cassette she used to record her music on. The cassette had recordings of both pieces. She definitely wrote both of them simultaneously since it was just on one tape. (Source: Outsider)

Both Jolene and I Will Always Love You reached the number one spot in the US Country Charts and have been covered by several artists like Whitney Houston, The White Stripes, and Miley Cyrus. (Source: Snopes)

What Inspired Dolly Parton to Write “Jolene”?

Jolene was released in 1973. The song became one of Parton’s hit singles. More than 30 artists have covered the song throughout the years. There are also versions sung in different languages, despite only 200 words.

Parton revealed that the inspiration for the song came from two girls. An eight-year-old approached her and asked for an autograph after one of her performances. According to Parton, the girl was beautiful. She had red hair, green eyes, and beautiful skin. The girl’s name was Jolene, and Parton loved it. She felt an overwhelming sense of writing a song about the name Jolene.

The other girl who inspired the song was a bank teller and another redhead. Parton said that the teller had a massive crush on her husband, showering him with so much attention whenever he went to the bank.

She mentions that the character in her song Jolene is a universal persona that everyone can relate with. 

Parton says the song has been recorded more than any of her other songs, with versions performed by big names in the industry such as; Olivia Newton-John, The White Stripes, The Sisters of Mercy, Miley Cyrus, and Mindy Smith. (Source: NPR)

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