Fifty years later, Dolly Parton’s 1971 album Coat of Many Colors is as renowned for its heartfelt title single as it is a showcase of the independent streak that has defined the country and pop-cultural superstardom of the iconic, 75-year old country singer. The album was nominated for Album of the Year at the 1972 CMA Awards and charted at No. 257 on Rolling Stone’s 2020 list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
On the latest edition of Rolling Stone’s Amazon Originals “500 Greatest Albums” Podcast, Parton is joined by Carly Pearce, renowned songwriter and vocalist Brandy Clark, and author/journalist Marissa Ross in breaking down the iconic release.
Notably, Parton shares a story about being on tour with her early creative partner, Porter Wagoner, in 1969 and writing “Coat of Many Colors.” She humorously recalls grabbing the only paper she could find — a dry-cleaning receipt for one of Wagoner’s suits — and then, two years later, a record that Rolling Stone states, “found her honing a plainspoken and personal writing voice,” was released.
Overall, Brandy Clark offers an insightful note regarding why she believes that the Country Music Hall of Famer’s work has impressively stood the test of time. “[As an album], ’Coat of Many Colors’ holds up because of the songs. It’s a timeless album. There’s no better storytelling song than [the title song] “Coat of Many Colors.” At the end of the day, it [highlights] Dolly’s storytelling. Her ability [in that regard] stands out because she doesn’t fight her instincts. She doesn’t overthink songwriting. Instead, she’s figured out how to be a vessel for the universe putting these songs into her.”