Country singer Bobbie Gentry
birth name: Roberta Lee Streeter

Bobbie Gentry

July 27, 1944, Chickasaw County, MS

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. ~ Allmusic: Bobbie Gentry ~ retrieved July 10, 2013 © Allmusic

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In 1967, Gentry produced her first single, the country rock ‘Mississippi Delta,’ however, it was the flipside, ‘Ode to Billie Joe’ with its sparse sound and controversial lyrics that started to receive airplay in the U.S. Capitol's shortened version added to the song's mystery. Questions arose among the listeners: what did Billie Joe and his girlfriend throw off the Tallahatchie Bridge, and why did Billie Joe commit suicide? Gentry herself has commented on the song, saying that its real theme was indifference: “Those questions are of secondary importance in my mind. The story of Billie Joe has two more interesting underlying themes. First, the illustration of a group of people's reactions to the life and death of Billie Joe, and its subsequent effect on their lives, is made. Second, the obvious gap between the girl and her mother is shown when both women experience a common loss (first, Billie Joe and, later, Papa), and yet Mama and the girl are unable to recognize their mutual loss or share their grief.” ~ Wikipedia: Bobbie Gentry ~ retrieved July 10, 2013 © Wikipedia

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