Retro Single Review: Dolly Parton, “My Blue Tears”

1971 | #17

The title track got most of the love, and deservedly so, but the first single from Parton’s Coat of Many Colors album is a strong effort in its own right.  Backed by Appalachian-flavored acoustic instrumentation, Parton mourns her lost love while expressing a desire for nothing more than solitude.

To the bluebird singing a sad song, she says “Spread your blue wings, and I’ll shed my blue tears.”  To the bright sunshine, she says “Waste not your warmth on the coldness in here…. Go light your blue sky, and I’ll shed my blue tears.”  The song’s brisk tempo belies its sad lyrics as Parton sings with an emotive quiver in her voice.

A minor Top 20 hit, “My Blue Tears” doesn’t stand quite as tall in Parton’s catalog as classics like “Jolene” and “Coat of Many Colors,” but its understated emotional qualities make it a gem worth hearing.

Written by Dolly Parton

Grade:  B+

Next:  Coat of Many Colors

Previous:  The Right Combination (with Porter Wagoner)


  1. Great Song. On the newer rerelease of the “Coat” album, there is a bonus track of an acoustic demo-style version of “my Blue Tears”…I love that version – sounds like just Dolly and her trusty guitar.

  2. “My Blue Tears” received very little airplay in Central Florida. WHOO-AM in Orlando played it but other local country stations mostly ignored it

    I liked the song but I don’t think it’s one of her more commercial efforts

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