Top 5 Most Inspirational Songs of Dolly Parton: A Review

Dolly Parton

On Dec. 12, Dolly Parton's TV-movie Coat of Many Colors brought hope and inspiration to many fans.  A story loosely based on Parton's life and her #1 hit song of the same name, the movie speaks of how obstacles can be overcomed with perseverence, prayer, faithfulness and love.  In celebration of Parton's inspirational movie, we want to re-visit some of Parton's most inspirational and spiritual songs she has had recorded.  Here are our Top 5 favorites, check them out, and be inspired.

5. "Light of a Clear Blue Morning" from "New Harvest... First Gathering"

 "Light of a Clear Blue Morning" ifirst appeared on Parton's 1977 New Harvest... First Gathering album, and provided a top twenty country music hit for her as a single. As Parton has told a number of interviewers over the years, the song came out of the pain from her break with longtime musical and business partner Porter Wagoner. Parton left Wagoner's band in 1974, in an effort to aim her career in a more mainstream pop direction; Wagoner responded by taking legal action, and the next couple of years were reportedly painful for both performers. The song speaks of how there's light and hope even in the darkest and cloudest days in our lives.  

Later, Parton would re-record the song to include in her 1992 film Straight Talk; for this recording, she changed the lyrics of verse two. A third recording of it appeared on an album of spirituals Parton released in 2003 entitled For God and Country. Glen Campbell also covered the song on his 1991 album Unconditional Love.

4. "Hello God" from "Halos and Horns" 

Parton's "Hello God" is a rare entry from Parton.  It's in fact a prayer of Parton to God in response to 9/11 where she pours out her doubts, heartbreak, questions, and pain before God.  "Hello God, are you out there? Can you hear me, are you listenin' any more? Hello God, if we're still on speakin' terms Can you help me like before? I have questioned your existence, My resistance leaves me cold Can you help me go the distance? Hello God, hello, hello." 

3. "He's Alive" from "White Limozeen"

Parton doesn't get more explicit about her faith than on "He's Alive."  A Gospel number that celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, here we find Parton on her "church-y" best quipped with a full-blown Gospel choiir.  The song was released as a single in October 1989, the third single from her back to country 1989 album "White Limozeen." An accompanying video was released, consisting of footage of Parton's performance of the song on the CMA Awards show, earlier that month. It was a cover of Don Francisco's song of the same name. The single peaked at # 39. 

2. "Silver and Gold" from "Eagle When She Flies"

A story song that only Dolly herself could sing, "Silver and Gold" speaks of a man's encounter with an old man who showed him that "Silver and gold might buy you a home/But things of this world/They won't last you long/And time has a way of turning us old/And time can't be bought back with silver and gold" The single was released in June 1991 as the second single from the album Eagle When She Flies. The song reached number 15 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart. The song was written by Carl Perkins, Greg Perkins and Stan Perkins.

1.  "Coat of Many Colors" from "Coat of Many Colors"

"Coat of Many Colors" has been described on a number of occasions as her favorite song Parton has written. It was released in October 1971 as the second single and title track from the album Coat of Many Colors. She composed the song in 1969, while traveling with Porter Wagoner on a tour bus. She recorded the song in April 1971, making it the title song for her Coat of Many Colors album. The song reached #4 on the U.S. country singles charts.

The song tells of how Parton's mother stitched together a coat for her daughter out of rags given to the family. As she sewed, she told her child the biblical story of Joseph and his Coat of Many Colors. The excited child, "with patches on my britches and holes in both my shoes", rushed to school, "just to find the others laughing and making fun of me" for wearing a coat made of rags. 

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