Saturday, July 27, 2013

Bobbie Gentry • Ode To Billie Joe

Bobbie Gentry photo Bobbie_Gentry00_zps6f2a7864.jpg

Bobbie Gentry produced her first song in 1967. The song, "Mississippi Delta", was a Country Rock song, but it wasn't released as a single. In fact, it was the flip side of her second single, which is truly more well known. She Bobbie also wrote "Ode To Billie Joe", a song that was more like Tennessee Williams than Country Music, telling the dark tale of of Southern life, where a young boy throws himself off the Tallahatchie Bridge after being seen on the bridge with a young woman, looking much like the narrator of the song, throwing something into the river. The song became a big hit, going to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Please enjoy this live performance of "Ode to Billie Joe".

While Bobbie Gentry became a hero to many female singer/songwriters, "Ode to Billie Joe" was her only real hit. A few of her duets with Glenn Campbell made it into the Top 40, but by 1978, she decided to retire form the music business, and the public eye. In 1991, one of the songs she wrote and sang was covered by a Country superstar who had a hit with it. Reba McEntire released her version of "Fancy", another dark story of Southern life, this one where a mother sends her daughter off to work as a prostitute. But still, it is "Ode to Billie Joe" that will be the lasting legacy of Bobbie Gentry.

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