Country Throwback: Dolly Parton Belts Heartfelt ‘Coat of Many Colors’ Performance in 1971

by Keeli Parkey

One of the most autobiographical songs Dolly Parton ever penned was “Coat of Many Colors.” It is a song so many have identified with over the years. It is a song that fans get emotional hearing. And, it is a song any country music fan hopes to hear the legendary country music star perform live.

“Coat of Many Colors” hits close to home to many who grew up in East Tennessee – or similar locales – to poor parents who were rich in love and affection for their families. It’s a song about the things in life that are way more valuable than money or possessions. And, it is a song about how the ties that bind a family together are stronger than the challenges we face when we leave home and go out into the world.

According to an article on, Dolly Parton wrote “Coat of Many Colors” while she was still traveling with Porter Wagner. Interestingly, she penned the famous song on the back of a dry cleaning receipt. Wagner somehow came into possession of the receipt and had it framed when “Coat of Many Colors” became wildly popular.

Dolly Parton Releases ‘Coat of Many Colors’ in 1971

“Coat of Many Colors” was released by Dolly Parton in October 1971 as the title track of a new album. It was the second single she released from said album. Fans recognized it as an instant classic and the song became synonymous with the singer.

Thirty years ago, even Parton got emotional about “Coach of Many Colors” during a performance. And who can blame her? The song is a moving story about a gift her precious mother shared with her.

The lyrics are endearing and so, so memorable. “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.”

Watch Dolly Perform ‘Coat of Many Colors’

You can watch Dolly Parton sing “Coat of Many Colors” below. Before she begins singing the song, she talks about its background and what it means to her. The song, Parton says, “tells a true story about one of my most memorable childhood memories. It is the song called ‘Coat of Many Colors.'”

Dolly looks very glamorous in her yellow dress, makeup, and styled hair in the video. But, it is obvious that one of Tennessee’s favorite daughters hasn’t forgotten where she came from.

Just because one can never get enough of Dolly Parton, here is a video from one of her more recent performances of “Coat of Many Colors.” This video was filmed at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Dolly talks about growing up at the start of this video.

“We had a good life,” she says. “We were just part of the birds and the bees and all that stuff up there in the hills. My mama was a great person. She was just one of those women that could just tell you anything (and) make it sound good. She could cook anything … make it taste good. And, she could sew anything; make it look pretty good.

“… we didn’t have anything money could buy,” Parton continues. “But we had a lot of stuff – things money can’t buy you anyhow. Things like love and kindness and understanding. And, we were blessed with good parents. …”