Friday, June 03, 2016

"It was the 3rd of June..."

..."another sleepy dusty delta day."   Here's Bobbie Gentry's "Ode to Billie Joe."  What did they throw off that damn bridge anyway?

Making the most of being a one-hit wonder, Bobbie hosted her own Variety series on CBS and one of the comedy supporter players was writer/blogger/good friend, Earl Pomerantz

22 comments:

Fredo said...

...and did Billie Joe sprain his ankle or something when he jumped? 'Cause it must have been at least a ten foot drop.

Anonymous said...

One hit wonder? Didn't she ask what do you get when you fall in love, and swore she'd never fall in love again?

velvet goldmine said...

All was revealed in a TV movie starring Robbie Benson. I can't remember exactly what they threw over, but somehow it evidence linked to him being gay.

Eric said...

It's too bad she's considered a one-hit wonder, because most of her other songs are pretty top-notch. "Reunion" was used very effectively on the second season of "Fargo", and "Mississippi Delta" and "He Made a Woman Out of Me" are very funky and worth checking out too.

Fred Vogel said...

Plus she married Bill Harrah of Harrah Casino fame.

thirteen said...

The Robby Benson movie (co-written by Bobbie Gentry and directed by Max "Jethro Bodine" Baer Jr.) was a 1976 theatrical. Robby's co-star was Glynnis O'Connor, who also been his co-star in 1973's Jeremy. Robby and Glynnis would go on talk shows, hold hands, and say they were madly in love. They were also in 1977's Our Town where, presumably, Glynnis thought things over while sitting in that graveyard. She and Robby were done after that one.

The Ode to Billy Joe movie had it that Robby's character had drunken sex with James Best's on the night the carnival came through town. The guilt is why Robby killed himself. The mystery object that Glynnis threw off the bridge was a doll.

VP81955 said...

IWilliam Faulkner wrote Hollywood screenplaysite. Had he tried to write a pop record, he might have come up with this.

Marc Wielage said...

Technical correction: Bobbi Gentry was not a one-hit wonder; she had a second solo Top 40 hit ("Fancy") and two Top 40 duet hits with Glen Campbell. At best, a 2-hit wonder.

Mike Barer said...

By coincidence, I was thinking of "Harper Valley PTA" today, which is along the same lines.

Anders E said...

"Casket Vignette" is friggin' awesome.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuilL4S0A4M

Patrick said...

With all due respect, Ken, her career may not have been for the ages, but she wasn't quite a one-hit wonder.

"Ode" may be the one you remember hearing (or playing) but she had several other chart hits.

Anders E said...

A Swedish version was a monster hit nationally - and here you can hear it with the added bonus of an introduction by none other than Lee Hazlewood. The Swedish lyrics are really quite smart, transferring the action to northern Sweden and keeping the mystery intact. Northern Scandinavia, btw, is to Europe what Saskatchewan is to N. America.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyTJsEgagk4

Pete Grossman said...

Thrown off that bridge? It was Jill Sobule - and here's the proof!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b55-ARpjypc

Tim Gray said...

Making the most of being a one hit wonder? It's a wonderful song with no other like it, and her voice is rich and melancholy. Seems like CBS was making the most of it. She seems genuine. I enjoy your columns every day but am puzzled by your tone here. You'd be more philosophical or even forgiving, I bet, about a sitcom screenwriter who was a one hit wonder. You make Bobbie Gentry sound like an opportunist. Just rankles me and not quite sure why.

Maybe you just tossed it off and don't really mean anything by it. Still.

Dixon Steele said...

"one-hit wonder"=too much snark

Ken Levine said...

I wasn't being snarky at all. Bobbie Gentry may have had some mid-chart hits or country hits but "Ode to Billie Joe" was her one big smash. That she parlayed that into a career and even got to host her own network variety is a feather in her cap. I think it's fair to say that she made the most out of one major hit record.

I only featured this post because it is such an amazing song and the date "3rd of June" always stuck in my head. I figured there are a lot of younger readers who aren't familiar with it so I'm offering that introduction.

When I want to be snarky, trust me, you'll know it.

Cap'n Bob said...

We used to say "dusty Mekong Delta day" back in the war.

Tim Gray said...

Thanks Ken. When you write it's an "amazing song" the snippet no longer rankles. Diane once said of Sam, "Your cologne has no nuance." Guess I don't either.

Matthew Brannigan said...

Yes, indeed her delightful version of "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" got to number one, but in the UK not the US - it didn't chart there at all.

Barry Traylor said...

Not a big fan of the song. Pretty much an ear worm for me so no thank you Ken I ain't agonna listen to it.

Roger Owen Green said...

Ode To Billie Joe by Bobbie Gentry was a #1 pop hit for 4 weeks, #7 Adult Contemporary, #8 Rhythm, but only #17 Country. This did better on the soul charts than the country charts!

Unknown said...

USA today writer has been tracking Gentry for years, with no luck. Here is a link to a good article about it.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/nation-now/2016/06/01/bobbie-gentry-superfan-searches-elusive-singer/85269174/