Dolly Parton's "Coat of Many Colors"

Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums

07-12-2021 • 24 minutes

Dolly Parton takes us inside Coat of Many Colors, the 1971 album where she came into her own as a solo artist, as a songwriter, and as a storyteller. Over the album’s 10 tracks — seven of them written solely by Dolly — she explored topics like poverty, class, spirituality, nature, female empowerment, and sexuality. The album marked Dolly’s first significant steps out of the shadow of Porter Wagoner, the rhinestoned country star who gave Dolly her big break by hiring her as the “girl singer” on his TV variety show. Dolly tells us the stories behind the songs, including “Coat of Many Colors,” an account of a childhood that was poor in money but rich in love. Contemporary artists like Brandy Clark and Carly Pearce join to talk about the album’s legacy. It’s an intimate look at a deeply personal statement.

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