Dolly Parton’s “Coat of Many Colors” – The Beginning

Published November 23, 2015 / Last Updated November 24, 2015

The Lovelaces

Tim and Mary Alice Lovelace are a husband/wife writing duo who enjoy co-writing songs, news articles, and short stories.

The history and meaning behind Dolly Parton’s “Coat Of Many Colors”

When Dolly’s mother took a box of rags that someone had given her and sewed them into a patchwork coat of love for her daughter, she didn’t know she was setting her on a path that would become one of the most beautifully woven tapestries in the history of American music.

Dolly began songwriting at the tender age of five and has been on a magical journey of melody and rhyme ever since. Songwriting is part of the fabric of who Dolly is. For songwriters, some songs can take years to write, while others can be crafted in just a few hours. However, there are those special few that are woven in what seems to be a moment’s time. Dolly’s beloved “Coat of Many Colors” is one such song.

The year was 1969, and she was on tour with country music legend Porter Wagoner, who was widely known for his iconic rhinestone-clad stage clothes. She was riding on the tour bus when the inspiration for “Coat of Many Colors” overcame her. Ironically, the only paper available to her was Porter’s dry cleaning receipts from his designer, one-of-a-kind coats, so she grabbed a pen and started writing! The song that poured out of her soul that day was about her own one-of-a-kind coat; a coat that gave her determination and wrapped her with confidence in the riches of a mother’s love.

As the song says, Dolly’s mother told her the Old Testament story of Joseph and his coat of many colors. Just like Joseph rose above the cruelty of others in his youth and went on to achieve his purpose in life, Dolly rose above the scoffers in the schoolyard and lives her life to encourage others to rise above their circumstances and to dream more…and it all started with a box of rags and a mother’s love.

Dolly Parton, Avie Lee Parton
Dolly Parton's "Coat Of Many Colors" replica displayed in her Chasing Rainbows museum at Dollywood theme park.
Dolly Parton, Avie Lee Parton
Original dry cleaning receipts used by Dolly Parton to write her now-famous song, "Coat Of Many Colors." The receipts were donated to the Chasing Rainbows museum by Porter Wagoner.
Porter Wagoner
Porter Wagoner, known for his iconic rhinestone clad stage clothes, chooses his outfit for "The Porter Wagoner Show."
Porter Wagoner
NBC: Coat of Many Colors
 
NBC: Coat of Many Colors

RAW Video: Emotional Dolly Parton performing “Coat Of Many Colors”

Footage courtesy of Country Music Hall Of Fame And Museum Nashville

Dolly Parton performs “Coat Of Many Colors” after her induction to the “Country Music Hall Of Fame.” Alison Krauss & Union Station were on hand during the ceremony to lend their beautiful talents to the performance.

Artist illustration by Lacinda Smith.

The LovelacesDolly Parton’s “Coat of Many Colors” – The Beginning

‘Just Between You And Me – The Complete Recordings 1967 – 1976′

Published May 13, 2014 / Last Updated August 23, 2015
Team Dolly

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Team Dolly

‘Just Between You And Me,’ the much-anticipated box set containing the beloved recordings of Dolly and Porter Wagoner was released in 2014 with 13 previously unreleased tracks

Tuesday, May 13, 2014, marked the release of the six-disc box set of Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton songs entitled – “Just Between You and Me: The Complete Recordings 1967 – 1976.” The set was released on Bear Family Records who specialize in retro collections. Dolly and Porter released 13 albums together (every song is included in the box set), had 21 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles charts, and had 139 duets during that period – they also released a single during the 2000’s (a re-recording of the Gospel standard “Drifting too Far From the Shore).

Despite the massive output, the pair had an often fiery relationship as Dolly mentioned in 2012 (Dolly has attributed the development of some of her Doralee character from “9 to 5” to her time with Wagoner),

“He was in charge, and it was his show, but he was also very strong willed. That’s why we fought like crazy, because I wouldn’t put up with a bunch of stuff. Out of respect for him, I knew he was the boss, and I would go along to where I felt this was reasonable for me. But once it passed points where it was like, your way or my way, to prove to you that I can do it, then I would just pitch a damn fit. I wouldn’t care if it killed me.”

Despite the years of drama, the pair made up around 1988 and remained friends until Porter Wagoner’s death in 2007.

Disc 1

Disc 2

Disc 3

Disc 4

Disc 5

Disc 6

The Box Set includes 13 previously unreleased tracks as well as some alternate takes of songs that had previously been released and an 80 page hardcover book including more details on all of the songs as well as commentary from important contributors. Emmylou Harris wrote the forward.

Team Dolly‘Just Between You And Me – The Complete Recordings 1967 – 1976′

CMA Win, GRAMMY Nomination w/Vince Gill

Published October 2, 1996 / Last Updated August 23, 2015
Team Dolly

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Team Dolly

Duo’s performance of ‘I Will Always Love You’ garners CMA win, GRAMMY nomination

Dolly was recognized as being part of the ‘Vocal Event of the Year’ (the category name was changed to ‘Musical Event of the Year’ in 2005) at the Country Music Association’s (CMA) annual awards show for her song “I will Always Love You,” released as a duet with Vince Gill on her album “Something Special.”

The song, “I Will Always Love You,” has had a long history of success for Dolly and for the artists who have covered it (most famously Whitney Houston). It was originally written by Dolly as a thank you to Porter Wagoner, her long time singing and television partner because she had decided to leave the partnership. Dolly said,

“It’s saying, ‘Just because I’m going don’t mean I won’t love you. I appreciate you and I hope you do great and I appreciate everything you’ve done, but I’m out of here…’ And I took it in the next morning. I said, ‘Sit down, Porter. I’ve written this song, and I want you to hear it.’ So I did sing it. And he was crying. He said, ‘That’s the prettiest song I ever heard. And you can go, providing I get to produce that record.’ And he did, and the rest is history.”

The Dolly and Vince collaboration of “I Will Always Love You” was also honored with a GRAMMY nomination and a TNN/Music City News nomination for Vocal Performance of the Year and ultimately reached number 15 on the country charts.

Team DollyCMA Win, GRAMMY Nomination w/Vince Gill

‘All I Can Do’

Published August 13, 1976 / Last Updated August 23, 2015
Team Dolly

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Team Dolly

Dolly releases 17th solo album, ‘All I Can Do’

Released August 1976, “All I Can Do” marked the end of an era as it was the last produced by Dolly’s long-time recording partner Porter Wagoner.

The album was nominated for a GRAMMY for Best Female Country Vocalist. The title song reached No. 3 on the U.S. Country Singles Charts, and the album would go on to peak at No. 3 as well on the U.S. Country Album charts.

Team Dolly‘All I Can Do’

‘The Bargain Store’

Published February 13, 1975 / Last Updated August 23, 2015
Team Dolly

Team Dolly

Team Dolly is a collaboration of writers, editors, and publishers assembled by Dolly Parton Productions. Each member is dedicated to accurately publishing the latest news and historical archives of the living legend that is Dolly Rebecca Parton.

Managing Editor - Jacob Timmons
Creative Director - Sarah Chapman
Senior Editor - Amanda Webb
Team Dolly

Dolly releases 15th solo album, ‘The Bargain Store’

In 1975, Dolly released her 15th solo studio album ‘The Bargain Store.’ The album mostly featured compositions written by Dolly, as well as Merle Haggard’s ‘You’ll Always Be Special To Me.’

The title track topped the U.S. Country Singles Charts, becoming Dolly’s fifth consecutive No. 1 single, and the album peaked at No. 9 on the U.S. Country Music Charts.

 

Team Dolly‘The Bargain Store’