Parton said as much in a recent interview with The Big Issue.
"It has been recorded worldwide over 400 times in lots of different languages, by lots of different bands," Parton said. "The White Stripes did a wonderful job of it, and many other people. But nobody's ever had a really big hit record on it. I've always hoped somebody might do someday, someone like Beyoncé."
Beyonce, a Houston native, knows a thing or two about country music, so she definitely belongs atop the list of the superstars best positioned to make "Jolene" a pop mega-hit.
"Jolene is a song about... you know, I've got my pride and I've got my strength," Parton told The Big Issue. "But when I write a song, I'm vulnerable at those moments. I leave my heart out on my sleeve. I've always said I have to leave my heart open in order to receive those kind of songs. I have to feel everything to be a real songwriter. And yes, a lot of my songs are kind of melancholy. Some of them are sad, and some of them are pitiful. And I mean for them to be pitiful, those really sad songs like 'Little Sparrow' or 'Jeannie's Afraid of the Dark.' I have a big imagination and I become whoever I'm writing about. It's like starring in a movie; I am that character in that song. So when I wrote it, I was Jolene."
Parton also discussed "I Will Always Love You" and confirmed the long-standing rumor that it might have been written on the same day as "Jolene."
"To me that is really a classic love song," Parton said. "I had a number one on it twice, once in the 1970s, then I did it in the movie The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and had another number one in the 1980s. And then Whitney did it and it was considered one of the greatest love songs of all time. Still to this day I take a lot of pride in that. So I'd tell my younger self, you're going to end up being very proud of your little old self one day. So just buckle up and be ready for the ride."
Parton's original versions of "Jolene" and "I Will Always Love You" debuted on her 1974 album Jolene.
Houston's version was recorded for the soundtrack of her 1992 film The Bodyguard. It became one of the pop star's signature songs, a multi-Grammy award-winner and one of the top-selling singles of all time.
In the same interview with The Big Issue, Parton once again covered how a dispute over publishing rights kept Elvis Presley from ever covering "I Will Always Love You."
The interview continues a long string of Parton-related media released during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. She's had a lot to promote lately, from the Netflix musical Dolly Parton's Christmas in the Square to an appearance on her friend Reba McEntire's podcast.