Coat of Many Colors (song)

Coat of Many Colors (song)
"Coat of Many Colors"
Single by Dolly Parton
from the album Coat of Many Colors
B-side "She Never Met a Man (She Didn't Like)"
Released October 30, 1971
Recorded RCA Studio B, Nashville; April 1971
Genre Country
Label RCA
Writer(s) Dolly Parton
Producer Bob Ferguson
Dolly Parton singles chronology
"Coat of Many Colors"
"Touch Your Woman"

"Coat of Many Colors" is a song by Dolly Parton, which she has described on numerous occasions as her favorite of the songs she has written. She composed the song in 1969, while traveling with Porter Wagoner on a tour bus. (She explained in her 1994 memoires, "My Life and Other Unfinished Business", because she could find no paper, as the song came to her, she wrote it on the back of a dry cleaning receipt from one of Wagoner's suits; when the song became a hit, Wagoner had the receipt framed.) She recorded the song in April 1971, making it the title song for her Coat of Many Colors album. Released as a single in August 1971, the song reached #4 on the U.S. country singles charts.

The song tells of how Parton's mother stitched together a coat for her daughter out of rags given to the family. As she sewed, she told her child the biblical story of Joseph and his Coat of Many Colors. The excited child, "with patches on my britches and holes in both my shoes," rushed to school, "just to find the others laughing and making fun of me" for wearing a coat made of rags.

And oh I couldn't understand it, for I felt I was rich
And I told them 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

The song concludes with Parton singing the moral of her story:

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

Parton kept the original coat, now on display in her Chasing Rainbows Museum at Dollywood. (Wagoner also donated the framed dry cleaning receipt on which Parton composed the song to the museum, where it now hangs.)

Shania Twain recorded a cover version of the song on the 2003 Parton tribute album Just Because I'm a Woman: Songs of Dolly Parton, with accompaniment by Alison Krauss and Union Station. This version peaked at #57 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart based only on unsolicited airplay. Other cover versions include a 1976 recording by Emmylou Harris on her Reprise Records debut, Pieces of the Sky, and a recording by Eva Cassidy released on the 2008 posthumous collection Somewhere. The Scottish Comedian, Billy Connolly also recorded a version in 1975 on his 'Get Right Intae Him' album (Unicorn Artists). This was a serious version unlike his comical parody of another of Dolly's hits - D.I.V.O.R.C.E (D-I-V-O-R-C-E is a song made popular by Tammy Wynette).

In 2005, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ranked Coat of Many Colors number 10 on its list of 100 Songs of the South.

A 1996 children's picture book of the song, with illustrations by Judith Sutton, was published by Harpercollins Children's Books.

In 2008, Kristy Lee Cook performed this song on American Idol (season 7) during Dolly Parton week.

Chart performance

Chart (1971) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 4
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 15

External links

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