Forty-five years ago this summer, this was a number one single, and the album later displaced the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” on Billboard.
It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day
I was out choppin’ cotton and my brother was balin’ hay
And at dinner time we stopped and walked back to the house to eat
And Mama hollered out the back door “y’all remember to wipe your feet”
And then she said “I got some news this mornin’ from Choctaw Ridge”
“Today Billy Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge”
“Ode to Billy Joe” – music and lyrics by Bobbie Gentry (born Roberta Lee Streeter).
Naturally, it being the Sixties, everyone had to find a “meaning” in the lyrics. Some came up with fantastic explanations.
It was pretty much a one-hit wonder. Although, Gentry put out four or five subsequent albums, the songs mostly based on rural Mississippi folk life. She had another gold album with Glen Campbell.
One of the albums contained a respectable cover of the Beatles’ “Fool on the Hill”