July 27: Bobbie Gentry is 71 Happy Birthday

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bobbie gentry


July 27: Bobbie Gentry is 71 Happy Birthday

 Can a song be so perfect, so successful, that it eclipses its creator? It can if it’s Bobbie Gentry’s Grammy-winning 1967 chart-topper Ode to Billie Joe, one of the most elegantly powerful pieces of storytelling ever to travel the airwaves.
~Dorian Lynskey (The Guardian)

Ode to Billie Joe:

From Wikipedia:

Birth name Roberta Lee Streeter
Born July 27, 1944 (age 71)
Origin Chickasaw County, Mississippi, United States
Genres Country, pop, soul
Occupations Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1964–1978
Labels Capitol
Associated acts Glen Campbell

Roberta Lee Streeter (born July 27, 1944), professionally known as Bobbie Gentry, is an American former singer-songwriter notable as one of the first female country artists to compose and produce her own material. Her songs typically drew on her Mississippi roots to compose vignettes of the Southern United States.

Gentry shot to international fame with her intriguing Southern Gothic narrative “Ode to Billie Joe” in 1967. The track was fourth in the Billboard year-end chart of 1967 and earned her Grammy awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1968. Gentry charted eleven singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and four singles on the United Kingdom Top 40.  Her album Fancy brought her a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. After her first albums, she had a successful run of variety shows on the Las Vegas Strip. She lost interest in performing in the late 1970s and has since lived privately in Los Angeles.

Bobbie Gentry remains one of the most interesting and underappreciated artists to emerge out of Nashville during the late ’60s. Best-known for her crossover smash “Ode to Billie Joe,” she was one of the first female country artists to write and produce much of her own material, forging an idiosyncratic, pop-inspired sound that, in tandem with her glamorous, bombshell image, anticipated the rise of latter-day superstars like Shania Twain and Faith Hill. ~Jason Alkeny (Allmusic)

Check out these fine articles:

Album of the day:

The Delta Sweete (1968)

The Delta Sweete is her second record and her masterpiece: a multi-faceted quasi-concept album about Gentry’s Mississippi delta roots.
~Dorian Lynskey (The Guardian)

bobbie gentry delta sweete

– Egil & Hallgeir

4 thoughts on “July 27: Bobbie Gentry is 71 Happy Birthday”

  1. …. and the number of times in the early 1970s playing “Son of a preacher man” on the jukebox, or dancing to “Mississippi Delta”. Thanks to you guys, Egil & Hallgeir, for the nostalgic trip today.

  2. While it is true that Bobbie’s recording career ended in 1978 with The Warner-Curb single’ Steal Away’ as her final effort, she remained a huge star on the Vegas- Reno circuit until the early 1980’s with several million dollar plus contracts. Indeed, she was voted top female act on the strip six years running. Her last television performance was in 1981 on an N.B.C Mothers day special hosted by Ed McMahon. She sang the Broadway song, Mama A Rainbow, to her own mother, Ruby, in the audience. Her final .television appearance was in 1982 as a presenter on The A.C.M awards show. That clip can be found on Youtube.

  3. Ode to Billie Joe was the #3 single of 1967 according to Billboard magazine. The O.T.B.J album was #4 for the year ending album chart maybe that’s where all the false internet information originated. It was actually the #1 song of 1967 with five cover versions also charting. The most successful of these was by King Curtis and The Kingpins. Their instrumental went #6r&b and #26 pop To date, the song has sold over 50 million records on over 100 covers. Ironically Bobbie’s other story song masterpiece, Fancy, has been gaining huge sales in the past several decades. It has a dozen covers including one by Reba McEntire which went #8 country. More importantly, It has become her signature song and has been placed on 4 cd’s including Reba’s greatest Hits volume 2 with a stunning 10 million copies sold.

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