Story Behind the Song: Dolly Parton, ‘Coat of Many Colors’
Over the course of her storied, prolific career, few of Dolly Parton's hits have been as well-loved as "Coat of Many Colors." Parton reflects on her own childhood in the song, explaining how, though her family didn't have much money, they were always rich in love and creativity. Read on to learn the story behind the song, as told by Parton herself.
This is a little song I wrote, and when it became a hit, I took the money back to Mama. I said, "Mama, this is about that little coat you made for me, and it's been a hit, and I've got royalties. I wanna take you down to Knoxville ... and I wanna buy you a new mink coat."
She said, "A mink coat?! Where am I gonna wear a mink coat around here? And besides, I don't want something that's already been worn." She said, "Just give me the money." Because she still had a house full of kids back home at that time. So I gave her the money.
["Coat of Many Colors"] is always a sweet little song when I sing it. It depends on what's going on in my life at the time, but that song affects me in so many different ways. I remember right after I lost Mama, several years ago, it was just so hard for me to sing that song. But now I have a sweet spirit in my heart, it kinda brings her back to us ... I know these songs all touched [my family] as well, because they're all about us.
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