Despite Rewrite, Beyoncé Gives Sole Songwriting Credit for ‘Jolene’ to Dolly Parton

Left: Getty Images / Right: Beyonce via Facebook

Grammy-Award-winning R&B artist, Beyoncé, released her first-ever country album

Cowboy Carter, the debut country album by pop star Beyoncé, was released on March 29th and is full of surprises that have fans talking. She says the project was inspired by an experience years ago where she felt unwelcome in the country music community.

Along with unexpected collaborations with Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton, the “Single Ladies” singer dropped her own version of Dolly’s timeless hit “Jolene.”

Beyoncé / Facebook

Beyoncé changed the lyrics to Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”

Beyoncé’s rendition of “Jolene” is not like any you have heard before. While the new track maintains the sound and spirit of Dolly’s original hit, Beyoncé took extensive creative liberty with rewriting the lyrics.

Most notably, she changed the famous line “I’m beggin’ of you, please don’t take my man” to “I’m warning you, don’t come for my man.

In addition to the lyrical swaps, Beyoncé included an entirely new bridge which reads:

[Bridge: Beyoncé & Choir]
Me and my man crossed those valleys
Highs and lows and everything between
Good deeds roll in like tumblin’ weeds
I sleep good, happy
‘Cause you can’t dig up our planted seeds
I know my man’s gon’ stand by me, breathin’ in my gentle breeze
I crossed those valleys
Highs and lows and everything between
Good deeds roll in like tumblin’ weeds
Good and happy
‘Cause you can’t dig up them planted seeds
Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
I’ma stand by her, she gon’ stand by me, Jolene

Dolly Parton responds to Beyoncé’s “Jolene”

Prior to the album’s release, Dolly Parton revealed that she was aware of the “Jolene” cover. She told a news outlet:

“I think she’s recorded ‘Jolene’ and I think it’s probably gonna be on her country album, which I’m very excited about that.” 

Once the song dropped, the country music legend doubled down on her support saying:

“Wow, I just heard Jolene. Beyoncé is giving that girl some trouble and she deserves it!” 


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A post shared by Dolly Parton (@dollyparton)

Dolly Parton gets full songwriting credit for new version of “Jolene”

Despite the significant rewrite of the lyrics, Dolly Parton is credited as the sole songwriter for “Jolene” on Cowboy Carter. According to the credits released with the album, Beyoncé is listed as the performer and co-producer. This suggests that any songwriting royalties earned from the song would go to Dolly, and not to Beyoncé.

It is unknown if this was a stipulation made by Dolly when allowing Beyoncé to record her hit song, or if the credit was given as a way to honor the queen of country music.

Watch the official lyric video for Beyoncé’s “Jolene” below!