"Jolene" as written by and Ray Lamontagne....
Cocaine flame in my bloodstream
Sold my coat when I hit Spokane
Bought myself a hard pack of cigarettes in the early morning rain
Lately my hands they don't feel like mine
My eyes been stung with dust, I'm blind
Held you in my arms one time
Lost you just the same
Jolene
I ain't about to go straight
It's too late
I found myself face down in the ditch
Booze on my hair
Blood on my lips
A picture of you, holding a picture of me
in the pocket of my blue jeans
Still don't know what love means
Still don't know what love means
Jolene
Ah, La, La, La, La, La
Jolene
Been so long since I seen your face
or felt a part of this human race
I've been living out of this here suitcase for way too long
A man needs something he can hold onto
A nine pound hammer or a woman like you
Either one of them things will do
Jolene
I ain't about to go straight
It's too late
I found myself face down in the ditch
Booze in my hair
Blood on my lips
A picture of you, holding a picture of me
In the pocket of my blue jeans
Still don't know what love means
Still don't know what love means
Jolene
La, La, La, La, La, La, La
Jolene
La, La, La, La, La, La, La
Jolene


Lyrics submitted by the_aloof

"Jolene" as written by Ray Lamontagne

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Jolene song meanings
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34 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentThis song brings forth such emotion that, though I do not exactly know where he is coming from, I can feel his thoughts with every bone in my body. I start to cry when this song comes on my playlist, almost every time. Still don't know what love means...
    tootsie0945on January 08, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General CommentLook at the opening two lines. Pure genius. Conveys a tough life on the road in a way that hasn't been done since Johnny Cash.
    robertcullenon March 29, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General Commentthis song is about an alcoholic who has wasted his life on booze. he never got anywere but jolene always wanted him to. she was very important in his that he messed up because he was an alcoholic and hes never going to chnge the road that hes on.
    " jolene i aint about to go straight its too late i found myself face down in a ditch booze in my hair blood on lips a picture of you holding a picture of me in the pocket of my blue jeans"
    this means that the man will never let her go but his life is on the slippery slope and knowbody can save him, not even her the person he adores so much.

    i also love the line " man needs something he can hold on to, nine pound hammer or a woman like you"

    It means it doesnt really matter who he holds at night as long as its anyone, alcohol doesnt make him feel, but he knows what an amazing woman she is.
    goldenhairedgirlon March 14, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General Commenti agree... it feels like hes whispering this story in my ear... i love ray lamontagne....
    orangeguitargirlon October 05, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Commenti think this song i truly remarkable. it`s the ultimate, i`m so fucked, and i do not intend on dooing anything about it. he`s saying that there is no use in trying to save him.
    Jolene
    I ain't about to go straight
    It's too late
    this just about sum it up.
    but it`s a beautiful and powerful lyric about a man who i looking in the mirror, and faces up to the truth, no matter the bare uglyness of it. truly remarkable.
    makreleon September 06, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song speaks rugged truth to me. When I listen to this song and then listen to Trouble, I can't help but thing the woman that saved the character portrayed in this song and won't let him go in that song might be Jolene from this song. To me this kind of adds depth to the story of this song.
    There are some beautiful lyrics in this song that speaks worlds to me, like:
    "Been so long since I seen your face or felt a part of this human race" and: "A man needs something he can hold onto a nine pound hammer or a woman like you, either one of them things will do".
    The imagery he gives of waking up in a ditch, bleeding, smelling of booze is palpable, and the fact that it seems that the only thing that seems to matter is the picture of her holding a picture of him is quite touching.
    I ponder on the reason why the girl in the picture is holding a picture of him instead of having a picture taken with him instead.
    The mispronunciation of Spokane seems to add to the story, in that he is definately not from the northwest. The description of the weather and climate of Spokane is poetic to me in the details. Since I have had the experience of going to the Spokane are during the fall when it was dusty and dry and waking up with a light rain.
    This song haunts me. I can't stop hearing the lyrics go through my head. It is as if it were to be saying to me "but for the grace of God (or whatever higher power that there might be)there go I"
    Tenacious88don August 20, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:( isn't it terrible when you hear a lyric one way and it makes the song mean one thing, and then you realize it was wrong and the meaning completely changes? All this time I had thought the line was "Jolene/I ain't about to go stray" instead of "straight." I interpreted it as the idea that, even in this unhealthy and toxic lifestyle of drugs or being away or what have you, he still considers himself completely devoted to this woman. He knows he isn't perfect and he knows he needs to do better, and he's honest in that he knows that may not happen; but still, when it comes to his devotion to this girl, he isn't going to drop her or forget about her - he isn't going to stray away from her.

    But now knowing the lyric is "straight", and he's coming to terms with the fact that he has chosen this lifestyle over her...it breaks my heart a little :/
    sparrowolfon April 23, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it is absolutely imperative that you read and understand Ray's background to "get" this song. It captures his story in a very real, poignant manner. That is the beauty of it too - because it is so genuine, listeners can transcribe some facet of their life into some element of the song because at bottom, it's about having gone through some rough, confusing, and lonely times in life.
    ca84on April 23, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHoly...crap. Beautifully written song...couldn't be more perfect. Ray is amazing.
    burdmanon October 24, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentlove it. i got drunk many nights alone with this song playing after a really hard break up.. thanks ray.. i owe ya one..
    brokendrum85on October 30, 2008   Link

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