Bobbie Gentry won a number of awards for her giant number one hit in 1967, Ode To Billie Joe. The song struck a chord with the public and propelled Bobbie to stardom.
She was born Roberta Streeter in 1944 in Chickasaw County, Mississippi, and grew up in Greenwood, Mississippi. Bobbie studied music and philosophy in Los Angeles. She worked at a variety of jobs, including as a secretary and as a dancer in Las Vegas.
As a singer/songwriter, she came to prominence with her release of Ode To Billie Joe in the summer of 1967, her first top forty hit. Arranged by Jimmy Haskell and recorded on the Capitol label with assistance from engineer Kelly Gordon, it is a story song about insouciance in a community where a teenage tragedy has occurred. The success of Ode To Billie Joe won several Grammy Awards for Bobbie Gentry, including Best New Artist, as well as a Country Music Association Award for most promising female vocalist.
Bobbie continued recording for Capitol. Her recording of Fancy was a top forty hit. Two duets that she did with Glen Campbell, Let It Be Me and All I Have To Do Is Dream, were remakes of Everly Brothers' hits and reached the top forty. In 1970 Bobbie had a second number one hit on the UK charts with I'll Never Fall In Love Again.
In 1976 Ode To Billie Joe was made into a major motion picture by the same name and starring Robby Benson and Glynnis O'Connor. The film featured additional music by Michel Legrand.
Bobbie Gentry had a television series in the United Kingdom and a radio show on the Armed Forces Network. She worked in several Las Vegas clubs. On October 15, 1978, she married singer Jim Stafford.
Bobbie Gentry's beautifully produced Ode To Billie Joe is one of the more memorable songs of the 1960's.
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