Country music legend Dolly Parton has written over 3,000 songs in her long and successful career. She has said that “Coat of Many Colors” is her favorite. It was originally released on her 1971 album of the same name, and is widely available on many compilation CDs or mp3 downloads from Amazon or iTunes. It tells a true autobiographical story of something that happened when Parton was a child, and references the Biblical story of Joseph and the “coat of many colors” given to him by his father Jacob, told in Genesis chapter 37.
Dolly kept the coat her whole life, and the actual original coat, and the dry cleaning receipt that Dolly used the back of to first jot down the words, are on display in the museum in the Dollywood Theme Park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
Many years later Dolly wrote a children’s illustrated picture book based on the song; it was listed among the best “100 Songs of the South” by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution; and it is now on the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry list.
Coat of Many Colors
Back through the years I go wonderin’ once again
There were rags of many colors, but every piece was small
As she sewed she told a story from the Bible she had read
My coat of many colors that my momma made for me
So with patches on my britches and holes in both my shoes
And oh, I couldn’t understand it, for I felt I was rich
But they didn’t understand it and I tried to make them see