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Music / Coat of Many Colors

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Coat Of Many Colors is Dolly Parton's eighth studio album, released in 1971, and best remembered for the title track, which ended up on # 4 in the U.S. country charts.

The album is listed in Time Magazine's TIME — All-Time 100 Albums list in 2006. The record was also listed at nr. #301 in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time In 2011 it was also added to the National Recording Registry.


Side One

  1. "Coat Of Many Colors" (3:05)
  2. "Traveling Man" (2:40)
  3. "My Blue Tears" (2:16)
  4. "If I Lose My Mind" (2:29)
  5. "The Mystery Of The Mystery" (2:28)

Side Two

  1. "She's Never Met A Man (She Didn't Like)" (2:41)
  2. "Early Morning Breeze" (2:54)
  3. "The Way I See You" (2:46)
  4. "Here I Am" (3:19)
  5. "A Better Place To Live" (2:19)


Tropes Of Many Colors

  • Alliterative Title: "Coat Of Many Colors" and "The Mystery Of The Mystery".
  • All Men Are Perverts: "If I Lose My Mind"
    You know how much I've always loved him, Mama
    But he done things to me I couldn't understand
    Why, he made me watch him love another woman
    And he tried to make me love another man
  • As the Good Book Says...: The album title alludes to the biblical song about Joseph's coat of many colors, which is also explained during the title track.
    She made my coat of many colors
    That I was so proud of
    As she sewed, she told a story
    From the Bible, she had read
    About a coat of many colors
    Joseph wore and then she said
    Perhaps this coat will bring you
    Good luck and happiness
  • Blue Bird Of Happiness: Subverted with "My Blue Tears", where Dolly tells said bird to fly away as she can't be cheered up.
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  • Break Up Song: "My Blue Tears", where Dolly tells a blue bird to fly away, for "the one that I have loved, he has left me and gone" and "I'm in no mood for to hear your sad song".
  • Colorful Song: "A Coat Of Many Colors" describe a coat made out of colorful rags that Dolly's mother gave to her.
  • Cradle of Loneliness: "Here I Am"
    My world is such an empty place
    I need someone to fill the space
    And here I am, oh here I am, here I am
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life:
    • "A Better Place To Live"
    There's a bit of magic in a simple little smile
    Something that just makes life seem a little more worthwhile
    • "The Mystery Of The Mystery"
    There are so many things that I don't understand
    And I search my mind to try and find an answer
    But the more I search the less I seem to find out why
    Like where the wind goes, how does life begin?
    What happens when we die?
    The mystery of the mystery must stay unknown
    Only God can know and man must not see
    Great minds have tried but they will not find
    The answer to the mystery of the mystery
  • Face on the Cover: A painting of Dolly as a child, in her coat.
  • Femme Fatale: "She's Never Met A Man (She Didn't Like)"
    I know it isn't real love that you see in her eyes
    Cause she's never met a man she didn't like
    And you're no different from the others
    A new acquaintence in the night
    You mean no more to her than all the others she's held tight
  • God-Is-Love Songs: "Early Morning Breeze"
    For there among the flowers I kneel gently to my knees
    To have a word with God in the early morning breeze.
  • I Want My Mommy!: Dolly's mother is very present in many of the songs, but in "If I Lose My Mind" she wants to be "her little girl again" after she left her former lover.
  • It's All About Me: "A Better Place To Live"
    All life has to offer that's what most folks desire
    But offer nothing in return, cause they don't seem to care
  • Kids Are Cruel: In the title track, as a young Dolly goes to school to proudly show off her new coat ... only for her classmates to cruelly make fun of her (Just to find the other's laughing/and making fun of me). Dolly reveals she had learned a very cruel lesson about life and her classmates, who still looked down on her and had little to no understanding — or desire to understand — the lessons of the Bible (One is only poor only if they choose to be).
  • One-Man Song: "Traveling Man".
  • Parental Abandonment: "Traveling Man" in which the protagonist plans on running off with a traveling man, only to find out that her mother has beat her to it.
  • Pep-Talk Song: "A Better Place To Live".
    We could make the world we're living in a better place to live
    And if we'd all climb together, we could climb the highest hill
  • Perpetual Poverty: "Coat Of Many Colors" is about Dolly's childhood and the poverty she grew up in. In the song her mother makes her a coat out of a box of colorful rags. Dolly is proud of her coat, but children at school laugh at her.
    And I tried to make them see
    That one is only poor
    Only if they choose to be
    Now I know we had no money
    But I was rich as I could be
  • The Power of Love: "The Way I See You"
    I compare it with the beauty of the dawning
    Or when the sun sets and paints its picture in the blue
    Like a butterfly that has a million colors, all such beauty
    What a love in the way I see you
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: "Coat Of Many Colors" was inspired by Dolly's own youth. She still owns the coat described in the song.
  • Shout-Out: "She Never Met a Man (She Didn't Like)" is a sarcastic paraphrase of Will Rogers' Catchphrase.
  • Title Track: "Coat Of Many Colors"
    From the Bible, she had read
    About a coat of many colors
  • Utopia: "A Better Place To Live" describes a world where people can live in peace and harmony together.


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