On This Date: Dolly Parton Released Her Iconic “Coat Of Many Colors” As A Single In 1971

Dolly Parton country music
Youtube/Kevin Allen

An all-time classic.

On this date in 1971, Dolly Parton released “Coat of Many Colors” as the second single and title track to her Coat of Many Colors album.

A solo write by Dolly, it ultimately peaked at #4 on the U.S. Hot Country Songs chart later that year.

And story behind this song is exactly what you’d think, which was inspired by a coat her mom made her when she was growing up dirt poor in the hills of East Tennessee, just like she says in the song.

Her mom sewed the coat together with rags people gave Dolly’s family, and as she worked, her mother told her children the story of Joseph in the Bible, as he had his own Coat of Many Colors which was given to him by his father Jacob and a very significant part of his story.

The coat and meaning behind it taught Dolly to be proud of and thankful for what she had, even if it meant nothing to anyone else:

“And oh, I couldn’t understand itFor I felt I was richAnd I told ’em of the loveMy momma sewed in every stitchAnd I told ’em all the storyMomma told me while she sewedAnd how my coat of many colorsWas worth more than all their clothes”

She actually got the idea and initially penned the track in 1969 while traveling with Porter Wagoner on a tour bus, but had to write it on the back of a dry cleaning receipt from one of his suits because she had no paper on the bus.

Once the song became a huge hit, he of course had that receipt framed, as she explained in her 1994 memoir, My Life and Other Unfinished Business.

It’s also one of her most well-known and signature tunes that remains a fan-favorite to this day, and Dolly often cites it as her own personal favorite song she’s ever written or recorded because of the personal meaning and sentiment behind it.

“Coat of Many Colors”

“Coat of Many Colors”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock