Country music star Dolly Parton is being celebrated in song for her $1 million donation to coronavirus vaccine research efforts.
Boston, Massachusetts professor Ryan Cordell posted a video on Twitter of himself performing a re-written version of Parton's famous song Jolene. Vaccine is the name of the new version.
And it is a hit! Cordell’s post received tens of thousands of views in just a few days since its posting.
Parton’s song is about a woman worried that she will lose her lover to Jolene, a desirable woman who can have any man she wants. Parton sings, “Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene / I’m begging you please don’t take my man / Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene / Please don't take him just because you can."
Vaccine expresses a similar sense of longing, but for a very different object. Cordell sings, “Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine / I’m begging of you, please go in my arm / Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine / Please just keep me safe from COVID harm."
The gently humorous lyrics came from Gretchen McCulloch, a language expert and writer. She posted the words to Vaccine online and invited people to record it.
“I love that song. I love Dolly Parton,” he told The Boston Globe on Tuesday. “So I went and grabbed my guitar.”
Parton’s gift to Nashville’s Vanderbilt University Medical Center helped efforts by researchers to develop Moderna’s experimental coronavirus vaccine. The drug company announced successful results for its vaccine this week.
Cordell grew up listening to Parton's music and saw her sing at a show last year. He called that performance one of his “favorite musical memories.”
“So I was just thrilled to see this news that she had contributed to COVID vaccine research,” he said.
Cordell hopes medical workers enjoy his video of Vaccine. He noted the intense pressure they are under.
“If they watched the video, and it made them happy for a minute,” he said, “that’s all I need.”
I’m Caty Weaver.
The Associated Press reported this story. Caty Weaver adapted it for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.
Words in This Story
view –n. the act of seeing or examining
thrilled –adj. very excited and happy
contribute – v. to help something happen, to be a part of an effort