July 27: Happy 73rd Birthday Bobbie Gentry

bobbie gentry

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 73)
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

5 thoughts on “July 27: Happy 73rd Birthday Bobbie Gentry

  1. Ode to Billie Joe( which won four grammys and The Grammy Hall Of Fame honor in 1999) has sold over 50 million records on close to 200 covers. Her other classic story song, Fancy, is not far behind at close to 30 million records sold. Over 20 Gentry compositions were covered by other artists. She is long overdue for the Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame. She was the first female inducted into The Mississippi State Hall Of Fame in 1976.

  2. Hi Daniel… I thought it was 1943…. Hurry Tuesday Child… Jus wondering 🙂 Thanks gor the Great post 💝💿

  3. According to Mississippi State records, she was born July 27, 1942. Her childhood friend, Edwina McCain, confirmed this last year in a splashy four page article about her in Delta magazine. They share the exact same birthdate- day and year. It was common practice for record companies to shave a couple years off their female artists in this era.

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