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Dolly Parton gave ‘Jolene’ a drag makeover for her ‘gay crowd’

Lily Wakefield November 25, 2019
Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton performs onstage during the 53rd annual CMA Awards. (John Shearer/Getty)

Dolly Parton gave her iconic song ‘Jolene’ a drag makeover on an episode of Late Night with Seth Meyers last week, and it was incredible.

She told the story of how she wrote the song, explaining that Jolene was a bank teller who she felt jealous of when she first married her husband.

She said: “This beautiful girl was working at the bank. She had everything I didn’t like legs and stuff, she was tall and beautiful, and he was just spending a lot of time down there.

“And I thought: ‘I know he ain’t got that kind of money.’ He said he was down there working on trying to get a loan because he was in asphalt paving at that time.

“I said: ‘Look, you can talk to some of these men about that. You’d better get your butt to the house or it’s gonna be your ass and your wallet.’… I learned early on though that I didn’t want to be jealous because everyone has those Jolenes in their lives.”

When Meyers mentioned that his 3-year-old son loved the song, Parton offered to perform some of it on the show.

After singing the first line of the chorus, however, she shouted: “This is for my gay crowd!”

She then switched the word “Jolene” for “drag queen” and sang: “Drag queen, drag queen, drag queen, drag queen… please don’t take him just because you can.” She drag makeover of the classic song was greeted by cheers and applause from the audience.

Asked by Meyers what she would do if she “ran into another Jolene” now with her husband, she said: “I’d just hide his Viagra.”

Parton was a guest on the show to promote her new Netflix series Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings, an anthology series which retells “the stories, memories and inspirations behind some of her most beloved songs”.

One episode, ‘Two Doors Down’, recasts the heartbreak of one of Parton’s defining anthems as a gay love story.

More: Dolly Parton, Heartstrings, Jolene, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Seth Myers

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