A truly great song remains great through many different interpretations and re-imaginings. Dolly Parton’s 1973 song, “Jolene” is one of those songs.
The song tells the story of an unnamed woman confronting a hussy named Jolene who is apparently after the narrator’s man. (Wikipedia says it’s based on a true story. A red-headed bank teller was flirting with Dolly’s husband with some success. Apparently there was a confrontation, too.) It’s delivered with minor-key dread, with the vocals pleading, vulnerable, menacing and threatening at the same time.
Here’s the original from 1973.
To be honest, though, I didn’t realize the song’s brilliance until the White Stripes covered it.
And now here’s another take on the song. It’s the 1973 7-inch played at 33 1/3 instead of the proper 45 RPM. Wow.
(Thanks to Al for the link.)