Song Spotlight: “Coat of Many Colors”

Coat with fluffy looking fabric in different patches of colors, including red, blue, yellow and green. Song spotlight genre label reads "country."
  • Mood: Inspirational, Optimistic
  • Themes: Country songs, Reminiscing, Life Experience 
  • Tempo: Moderate 
  • Genre/Style: Country

March is Women’s History Month in the United States, a month dedicated to honoring incredible women and their contributions to society. As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we look up to the music icon Dolly Parton, who has dedicated her life to music, reminding generations of women of their incredible strength of potential. 

In her career of over fifty years, Dolly has been a vocal advocate for women’s rights and gender equality. Her philanthropic efforts have placed a heavy focus on supporting women’s health, education, and well-being.

In this song spotlight, we explore “Coat Of Many Colors,” a song about Dolly’s childhood. Dolly grew up in poverty in rural Tennessee, as one of twelve children living in a one-room cabin with her family.     

The song is based on a true story when Dolly’s mother sewed her a coat using rags from old clothes. As a result, the coat was made up of different colors, hence the name “Coat of Many Colors.” In the song, Dolly wears the coat with pride despite being teased by other kids for wearing a coat made of rags. 

The coat became a symbol of hope and resilience for Dolly and reminded her of her mother’s love and the importance of family. Through her talent, hard work, and determination, Dolly became one of the most celebrated and successful performers in the world. 

Here are some of the lyrics:

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    

This is a great song to use in a 1:1 setting or group and would go well with a collection of songs that explore the theme of country music or Dolly Parton’s career through the years.  

Try This:

Theme: This song would fit well into a Country Music or Childhood theme. 

Discuss the lyrics of the song and invite participants to share their childhood experiences. 

Add expressive movement along with the song.

Add instruments such as shakers and tambourines. 

Sing along: Print out the lyrics and sing along to this classic Dolly Parton song. 

Look at photos of Dolly from her childhood. Show a photo of the coat to the group. 

For more song spotlights, visit our Song Spotlights page.

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