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Dolly Parton’s Joyful Reaction to Beyoncé’s ‘Jolene’ Feature on ‘Cowboy Carter’ Album and How the Country Legend Could Rake In Royalties

Fans around the world erupted with excitement as Beyoncé’s highly anticipated country album “Cowboy Carter” was released last week and made available for streaming.

Photos via Instagram, @dollyparton, @beyonce

The album’s arrival on streaming platforms on March 29 marked a significant moment for Beyoncé’s diverse musical repertoire, showcasing her versatility as an artist. Social media platforms were abuzz with fans sharing their favorite tracks, dissecting the album’s themes and production over listening parties, and expressing awe at Beyoncé’s seamless transition into the country genre.

Country music legend Dolly Parton weighed in after Beyoncé unveiled the tracklist. Parton, known for her iconic hit “Jolene,” discovered that Beyoncé included a song titled “Jolene” on the newly released album.

Taking to Instagram Stories, Parton shared Beyoncé’s announcement with a simple message urging fans to “Play the original while you wait for @beyonce’s ‘Jolene,'” accompanied by a link to listen to her 1974 hit on streaming services.

“Jolene” soared to No. 60 on the Billboard Hot 100 in March 1974 and topped the Hot Country Songs chart in February that year. Parton’s rendition of the song earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Female Country Vocal Performance in 1975, with the live version also receiving a nomination in the same category the following year.

Fast forward to 2024, and “Jolene” has now become a Beyonce song, complete with lyric changes reportedly approved by Parton. Parton appears on an interlude preceding Bey’s cover of “Jolene.” And, the “Cowboy Carter” tracklist also featured mentions of country icons Willie Nelson and Linda Martell. Nelson is featured throughout the album, lending his voice to KNTRY Radio Texas in the interludes “Smoke Hour * Willie Nelson” and “Smoke Hour II.” Two tracks on “Cowboy Carter,” “Spaghettii” and “The Linda Martell Show,” include spoken word commentary from Martell, the first commercially successful Black female country music artist. And, Steve Wonder plays harmonica on “Jolene.”

Parton previously addressed rumors that Beyoncé might be covering her classic track. “Well, I think she has!” Parton shared with Knox News. “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.”

Expressing admiration for Beyoncé, Parton added, “I love her! She’s a beautiful girl and a great singer.”

Beyoncé’s foray into the country genre is not only making waves but also shattering records along the way. Spotify announced on Instagram that Beyoncé’s latest country-infused songs have swiftly claimed the title of the most-streamed album in a single day for 2024 so far.

How Whitney Houston Added To Parton’s Wealth

Parton has a track record of cashing on her catalog of music and song credits which is estimated to be worth about $150 million, according to Forbes. Her iconic song “I Will Always Love You” has not only become a timeless classic but also a significant source of revenue through royalties, particularly due to Whitney Houston’s iconic rendition. Released as part of the soundtrack for the film “The Bodyguard,” Houston’s powerful interpretation topped charts worldwide and became one of the best-selling singles of all time. Dolly earned $20 million in royalties from it alone.

Will Beyonce’s rendition become as big as Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” resulting in mega royalties for Parton? That remains to be seen, but for now the buzz is buzzing.

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