In a new video installment of “The Backyard Sessions” by Miley Cyrus released late last year, the 20-year-old singer can be seen barefoot performing one of country music legend Dolly Parton’s most well-known tunes, “Jolene.”
Cyrus’ take on the 1974 classic song is a little edgier than the rendition she performed with Parton, who is also her honorary godmother, during 66-year-old singer’s salute to “25 Years Of Dollywood” back in 2010.
“Jolene” peaked at No. 60 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart at a time when Barbara Streisand’s “The Way We Were” and Kool & The Gang’s “Jungle Boogie” flourished in the top 10 and gets its title from a fan Parton met at one of her concerts.
“One night I was on stage, and there was this beautiful little girl,” she said. “She was probably eight years old at the time. And she had this beautiful red hair, this beautiful skin, and beautiful green eyes.
She continued, “She was looking up at me, holding, you know, for an autograph. And I said, ‘Well, you're just the prettiest little thing I've ever seen.’ I said, ‘What is your name?’ And she said, ‘Jolene.’ And I said, ‘Well, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene…that is pretty…that sounds like a song. I'm going to write a song about that.”
Something that you might not know about this track, which occupies the 219th spot on Rolling Stones’ “500 Greatest Songs Of All Time” list, is that it was written about a bank teller who was flirting with Parton’s spouse.
“She got this terrible crush on my husband,” the “9 To 5” hitmaker said. “And he just loved going to the bank because she paid him so much attention. It was kind of like a running joke between us when I was saying, ‘Hell, you're spending a lot of time at the bank. I don't believe we've got that kind of money.’ So it's really an innocent song all around, but sounds like a dreadful one.”
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Cover versions of the tune have frequently popped up over the years by artists such as Fiona Apple, Ellie Goulding and The White Stripes and was even featured on an episode of “Glee” called “I Kissed a Girl.”