This Classic Dolly Parton Song Is Her Favorite Because It’s So Personal to Her

Dolly Parton has a vast catalog of amazing songs, so picking her favorite is no easy task. Stephen Colbert put the singer on the spot during the Oct. 20 episode of The Late Show when he asked which of her songs were Parton’s favorite. She picked a few classics that everyone loves, but one of them is special to her because of the personal meaning behind it.

Dolly Parton attends the 61st Annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center on February 10, 2019
Dolly Parton | David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Dolly Parton’s favorite song is so personal

The first song Parton listed came about from her childhood and, she explained, that personal experience and the memories associated with it make it extra special.

“Well my very favorite song from a very personal level is ‘Coat of Many Colors,’” she explained. “It’s kind of a little signature song of mine and it’s more than just about the little coat. It’s about my mom, it’s about family, it’s about acceptance, it’s about tolerance, and even speaks to bullying. You know, kind of how the kids made fun of me at school.”

The song’s message, she pointed out, even provides a teachable moment for kids. “They even teach out of it in some of the grammar schools around Tennessee,” the singer noted. “They use that little song about not making fun of people, it’s okay to be different. We are who we are and we need to accept and love each other.”

Dolly Parton loves her obscure songs too

While Parton was naming some of her career favorite tunes, she also mentioned one that really isn’t well known that she loves. Parton explained that naming her favorites was tricky because she wanted to list those that people are familiar with. Even so, she threw out one title that she said makes the top of her list.

She explained how “Down From Dover,” about a pregnant woman who had to leave home, is one of her top favorites, too.

“I really love some of my songs like that, that tell stories. And of course ‘Jolene’ is everybody’s favorite and I enjoy singing that one, but most of my songs that I love the best are songs that nobody’s ever heard,” Parton said.

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Dolly Parton shared her reaction to Whitney Houston’s version of 1 of her songs

In discussing her hit songs, Colbert wondered if Parton had ever heard someone else do a version of one of her songs and “they made it beautiful in a way that I didn’t anticipate.”

She said that one great example of that is when Whitney Houston sang “I Will Always Love You.”

“When Whitney Houston did ‘I Will Always Love You’ … just a simple sweet, little heartfelt song and she took it and made it so big and so beautiful,” she shared.

“When I heard that, I couldn’t believe that was my song,” Parton added.

During her interview with Colbert, she moved the late night host to tears when she sang “Bury Me Beneath the Willow,” a song her mother would sing.

When Parton joked, “I better hush before you cry yourself to death and we can’t finish the show,” Colbert admitted, “Like a lot of Americans, I’m under a lot of stress right now, Dolly!”