In celebration of CBC Music’s new Killer Covers stream, we’re pitting some of the most famous cover versions against the originals. Once a day for two weeks, we'll post an original song and its cover, and you can vote for which version you prefer.
Dolly Parton released “Jolene” in 1973 as the debut single from her album, Jolene. The song is written from the perspective of a woman trying to stop another woman from stealing her husband. It’s a testament to the greatness of the song that it has been covered in a number of different genres. Here is the original.
In 1976, Olivia Newton-John released the album Come On Over, featuring “Jolene” as the opening track. Newton-John’s version incorporates the main guitar riff and even some lap-steel guitar but manages to sound more disco than country. Also, check out the high notes she hits at the end.
The White Stripes released a cover of “Jolene” on 2001’s White Blood Cells. It’s notable that theirs is a garage rock version of the song. It’s even more notable that lead singer Jack White did not change the genders of the characters in the song, as so many men do when they sing songs intended for female artists. Brave choice.
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on Aug 10, 2012