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 Fans Celebrate Dolly Parton with Viral Video

FILE - This Nov. 13, 2019 file photo shows Dolly Parton performing at the 53rd annual CMA Awards in Nashville, Tenn. Parton tweeted Wednesday, April 1, that she’s donating $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.
Fans Celebrate Dolly Parton with Viral Video
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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.

Cordell accepted.

“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