Coat of Many Colors

Dolly Parton

About Coat of Many Colors

"Coat of Many Colors" is a song written and recorded by American country music singer Dolly Parton, which has been described on a number of occasions as her favorite song she has written. It was released in October 1971 as the second single and title track from the album Coat of Many Colors.


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Back through the years
I go wonderin' once again
Back to the seasons of my youth
I recall a box of rags that someone gave us
And how my momma put the rags to use
There were rags of many colors
Every piece was small
And I didn't have a coat
And it was way down in the fall
Momma sewed the rags together
Sewin' every piece with love
She made my coat of many colors
That I was so proud of
As she sewed, she told a story
From the Bible, she had read
About a coat of many colors
Joseph wore and then she said
Perhaps this coat will bring you
Good luck and happiness
And I just couldn't wait to wear it
And momma blessed it with a kiss

My coat of many colors
That my momma made for me
Made only from rags
But I wore it so proudly
Although we had no money
I was rich as I could be
In my coat of many colors
My momma made for me

So with patches on my britches
And holes in both my shoes
In my coat of many colors
I hurried off to school
Just to find the others laughing
And making fun of me
In my coat of many colors
My momma made for me

And oh I couldn't understand it
For I felt I was rich
And I told 'em of the love
My momma sewed in every stitch
And I told 'em all the story
Momma told me while she sewed
And how my coat of many colors
Was worth more than all their clothes

But they didn't understand it
And I tried to make them see
That one is only poor
Only if they choose to be
Now I know we had no money
But I was rich as I could be
In my coat of many colors
My momma made for me
Made just for me

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Dolly Parton

Dolly Rebecca Parton (born January 19, 1946) is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, actress, author, and philanthropist, best known for her work in country music. She has composed over 3,000 songs, the best known of which include "I Will Always Love You" (a two-time U.S. country chart-topper for Parton, as well as an international pop hit for Whitney Houston), "Jolene", "Coat of Many Colors", "9 to 5", and "My Tennessee Mountain Home". As an actress, she starred in the movies 9 to 5, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Steel Magnolias, Gnomeo & Juliet, Straight Talk, Unlikely Angel, and Joyful Noise. She is one of the most successful female country artists of all time; with an estimated 175 million in album sales, Dolly Parton is also o… more »

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Written by: DOLLY PARTON

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

11 facts about this song

Song Creation
"Coat of Many Colors" was written by Dolly Parton in 1969 on the back of a dry cleaning receipt while on tour with Porter Wagoner.
The song was inspired by a true story from Parton's childhood. Her mother had stitched together a coat for her from scraps of cloth, retelling the story of Joseph from the Bible to keep her spirits high.
Cultural Impact
"Coat of Many Colors" is not just a song but a symbol of Parton's commitment to promoting literacy and a love of reading among children.
Critical Acclaim
Upon its release, the song received wide critical acclaim, often mentioned as Dolly Parton's finest songwriting achievement.
Recordings and Performance
"Coat of Many Colors" has been performed and recorded by numerous artists across different music genres.
Album's Success
The album, sharing the same title as the song, reached number seven on the US country albums charts and number 153 on the overall albums chart in 1971.
Book Adaptation
Dolly Parton later adapted "Coat of Many Colors" into a children’s book, aiming to promote kindness and tolerance.
Television Movie
In 2015, the song was turned into a TV movie by NBC, which takes viewers back to the tight-knit Parton family's home in Tennessee's Great Smoky Mountains.
Addressing Bullying Issue
Through the “Coat of Many Colors”, Parton subtly addresses the issue of bullying, recounting how she was made fun of by schoolmates for her patchwork coat.
Dollywood Museum
The original, handwritten lyrics to “Coat of Many Colors” are on display at the Chasing Rainbows Museum in Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
Honoring Her Mother
Dolly Parton has often stated that "Coat of Many Colors" is her favorite song she has written, as it honors her mother's skill and spirit during times of hardship.

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