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Song IconBobbie Gentry "Ode To Billie Joe"

About "Ode To Billie Joe"

"Ode to Billie Joe" is a song by American singer-songwriter Bobbie Gentry released by Capitol Records in July 1967, and later used as the title-track of her debut album. Five weeks after its release, the song topped Billboard's Pop singles chart. It also appeared in the top 10 of the Adult Contemporary and Hot R&B singles charts, and in the top 20 of the Hot Country Songs list.

The song takes the form of a first-person narrative performed over sparse acoustic guitar accompaniment with strings in the background. It tells of a rural Mississippi family's reaction to the news of the suicide of Billie Joe McAllister, a local boy to whom the daughter (and narrator) is connected. The song received widespread attention, leaving its audience intrigued as to what the narrator and Billie Joe threw off the Tallahatchie Bridge. Gentry later clarified that she intended the song to portray the family's indifference to the suicide in what she deemed "a study in unconscious cruelty," while she remarked the object thrown was not relevant to the message.

"Ode to Billie Joe" was nominated for eight Grammy Awards; Gentry and arranger Jimmie Haskell won three between them. Gentry's writing was adapted for the 1976 film Ode to Billy Joe. The song appeared on Rolling Stone's lists, 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and Greatest Country Songs, while Pitchfork featured it on their 200 Best Songs of the 1960s list.

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