Beyoncé and Dolly Parton Resurrect 'Becky' Talk for "Jolene" Cover: 'That Huzzy With the Good Hair You Sing About'

The 'Cowboy Carter' version of the 1973 classic sees Beyoncé "warning" Jolene instead of "begging" her.

Beyoncé in a bejeweled gown with a cowboy hat and Dolly Parton in a studded pink costume holding up peace signs
Images via Getty/James Devaney/GC Images & Getty/Mike Marsland / WireImage
Beyoncé in a bejeweled gown with a cowboy hat and Dolly Parton in a studded pink costume holding up peace signs

Perhaps we are in the right timeline after all, as the infidelious worlds of none other than Jolene and Becky have gloriously collided.

Thanks to Cowboy Carter, the singer’s country-inspired new album, Beyoncé fans now have their hands on the “Jolene” cover they’ve hoped for and speculated about over the years. Even Dolly Parton herself had gone on the record as saying she very much wanted to hear Beyoncé’s take on her oft-covered, roundly praised 1973 single.

Now that the moment is upon us all, it’s safe to say that Lemonade streaming numbers are about to see a sizable boost. In the “Dolly P” interlude, Dolly references a certain “Becky with the good hair” in a voicemail, like so:

Hey miss Honey B, it's Dolly P
You know that huzzy with the good hair you sing about?
Reminded me of someone I knew back when
Except she has flamin' locks of auburn hair
Bless her heart
Just a hair of a different color but it hurts just the same

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In Beyoncé’s 2016 Lemonade track “Sorry,” she sang of a “Becky with the good hair” who’s apparently romantically involved with the narrator’s partner. The possible real-life inspiration for this “Becky,” of course, has long been the subject of intense speculation, with Bey’s husband, Jay-Z, often placed at the center of such rumors and theories.

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As for Dolly’s Jolene character, she gave a succinct explainer on the inspiration behind the classic song during a 1988 TV performance.

“This is a true story, for those of you that don’t know,” she said at the time. “I wrote this song about 20 years ago about this woman down in Nashville who worked at the bank. She was trying to take care of my husband while I was out on the road. Well, that didn’t go over too big with me. I fought that redheaded woman like a wildcat. She jerked my wig off and almost beat me to death with it, but I kept my husband.”

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It’s worth noting that “Jolene,” the Cowboy Carter version, features several lyrical differences from the 1973 original. In Beyoncé’s version, for example, she's "warning" the title character instead of "begging" her. Beyoncé also makes it clear to Jolene that she's "still a Creole banjee bitch from Louisianne."

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Other artists who have stepped into the world of "Jolene" in the past include The White Stripes, Margo Price, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, and many more. When reflecting on the song's remarkable legacy in an interview with NPR back in 2008, Dolly pointed to the universality of its story.

“Jolene,” notably, is far from the only classic in Dolly’s decades-strong catalog. “I Will Always Love You,” also originally released in 1973, was given a whole new life nearly 20 years later by the late Whitney Houston, who covered the track for the soundtrack to her and Kevin Costner’s The Bodyguard. Famously, Dolly wrote "Jolene" and "I Will Always Love You" on the same day.

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