Born Roberta Lee Streeter on July 27, 1942 in Chickasaw County, Mississippi, Bobbie Gentry is one of the most influential artists most people have never heard of.
She chose her stage name after watching Ruby Gentry, a 1952 movie about a woman who overcame poverty to make something out of her life.
She charted eleven hits on Billboard Hot 100, won three Grammy awards, put Southern Gothic on the map, had a successful Vegas show, was a model and partial owner of the Phoenix Suns and, most importantly, one of the first female artists to write and produce her own music.
She has impacted generations of country artists and her legacy should be honored, which is why we’re dedicating this week to a genuine gem, Ms. Bobbie Gentry.
SONG OF THE monDAY
Big Boss Man is a blues song first recorded by Jimmy Reed in 1961. It was written by Luther Dixon and Al Smith and has been covered by artists such as Elvis Presley and B.B. King. Bobbie Gentry’s version was included on her second studio album, The Delta Sweete (1968), which was re-released by Capitol Records as Tobacco Road in 1971 without the songs Big Boss Man and Parchman Farm.
SONG OF THE tuesDAY
Bobbie Gentry wrote and recorded Fancy in 1969. It was included on the 1970 album, Fancy, which earned a Grammy nomination. According to Gentry, the song was her strongest women’s lib statement, and it became a crossover hit, peaking at No. 26 on Hot Country and No. 31 on Billboard Hot 100. Reba McEntire covered it in 1990 on her Rumor Has It album. Her version hit No. 8 on Hot Country.
SONG OF THE wednesDAY
Written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, I’ll Never Fall In Love Again has been covered by several artist, with Dionne Warwick’s version being the highest chart-topper in the US at No. 6 on Billboard Hot 100. Bobbie Gentry’s version appeared on her 1969 album, Touch ‘Em With Love and again on Fancy. Her version hit No. 1 in the UK.
SONG OF THE thursDAY
Ode to Billie Joe is Bobbie Gentry’s most successful song. From the album, Ode to Billie Joe (1967), it’s about indifference and the inability to connect with one another, even over shared grief. The album knocked the Beatles’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band off the top spot of Billboard Hot LP after a 15-week reign. The song, Ode to Billie Joe, became an international hit, landing at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100 and earned Gentry three Grammy awards.
SONG OF THE friDAY
Sittin’ Pretty was written by Bobbie Gentry and Kelly Gordon. The song was originally included on Gentry’s third studio album, Local Gentry (1967), which was re-released in 1971 as Sittin’ Pretty. Though the song (and album) didn’t chart, it’s one of our favorite jams here at Vinyl.
SONG OF THE saturDAY
Written by John Hartford, Gentle on My Mind was first recorded by Glen Campbell and released in 1967 on the album, Gentle on My Mind. It won four Grammy awards, two for Hartford and two for Campbell. The song was also included on the album, Bobbie Gentry and Glen Campbell (1968). Gentry had toured with Campbell and frequently performed on his TV show. That album hit No. 1 on Billboard Top Country and No. 11 on Billboard Top LPs chart.
SONG OF THE sunDAY
Apartment 21 was written by Bobbie Gentry and recorded during the Fancy recording sessions. The song was released as a stand-alone single in 1970 with a b-side of Seasons Come, Seasons Go. Though it peaked at No. 81 on Billboard Hot 100 and No. 19 on Adult Contemporary, it is considered by several critics to be among Gentry’s best work.
Together original members Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, and Randy Meisner were Eagles. Formed in 1971 while touring with Linda Ronstadt, Eagles are the highest-selling band in American history with 150 million copies worldwide. "Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975)" held the title for all-time highest-selling album until 2009 when Michael Jackson's "Thriller" took the top spot following his death. The group later expanded to include Don Felder, Joe Walsh, and Timothy B. Schmit. Over the course of their career, Eagles have won six Grammy Awards, been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and are always included in the "Greatest Artists" lists in publications all over the world. We'll do our best to narrow down the list to just seven awesome songs as we pay tribute this week to Eagles.
With the recent passing of Phillip Everly (Jan. 3, 2014), we’d like to take this time to pay tribute to The Everly Brothers. If you don’t have the Everly Brothers in your music collection, you’re missing out on one of the most beautiful harmonies you’ll ever hear in music.
Don and Phil Everly started out singing as part of The Everly Family on a radio program in Iowa. When the family moved to Tennessee, Don and Phil transitioned out of the family act and into a duo.
If you think the Everly Brothers are just old-school crooners in a time when music was vanilla as vanilla ice cream, you’d be sorely mistaken. Everything we call country rock today has stemmed from the Everly Brothers’ influence.
They were the Beatles’ Beatles, gods for Simon & Garfunkel, and the wave the Beach Boys rode in on.
“Cathy’s Clown,” “Wake Up Little Susie,” “Bye Bye Love,” “All I Have To Do Is Dream,” and “Be-Bop-A-Lula” are among the Everly Brother’s 35 Top 100 songs, more than any other duo.
“Wake Up, Little Susie” was a bit controversial for the time because naysayers thought the song was too sexual. The song was banned on radio stations in Boston and other part of the country.
Not only were the Everly Brothers popular in the United States, they were just as successful in Britain, thus the connection to the Beatles. In the U.K. they had 30 chart singles, 29 in the top 40, 13 top 10 and 4 at No. 1 between 1957 and 1984.
Accolades and Tributes
Rolling Stone has labeled them “the most important vocal duo in rock.” They have been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Country Music Hall of Fame.
Three Everly Brothers tribute albums were released in 2013, including Norah Jones and Billy Joe Armstrong’s “Foreverly.” There have also been several famous covers of their songs including Alison Krauss and Robert Plant’s version of “Gone Gone Gone” off the “Raising Sand” album, Reba McEntire’s “Cathy’s Clown,” and a-ha’s “Crying In the Rain.”
Although their influence runs deep through today’s music, the main reason you should add the Everly Brothers' music to your playlist is their harmony. It’s beautiful, soothing, and graceful, the perfect background for just about any day of the year.
An Everly Brothers' Sampling
"Wake Up Little Susie" is a classic Everly Brothers' tune. It's catchy, clever, and quite controversial for the time. It was banned from the radio in places like Boston for its suggestive lyrics. The song has been covered by Simon & Garfunkel, the Grateful Dead, and Alvin and the Chipmunks, to name a few. If there's one Everly Brothers' tune you must have, it's this song.
If you haven't heard "Cathy's Clown" then you really need to have a listen. Not only is the song the Everyly Brothers' biggest hit, but it was also a huge influence on The Beatles, who once considered calling themselves The Foreverly Brothers. The Beatles recreated the vocal arrangement of "Cathy's Clown" in their first U.S. single, "Please Please Me."
The song "Bye Bye Love" was rejected by 30 other acts before the Everly Brothers. The song became the duo's first million-seller reaching number two behind Elvis and number 1 on the country charts. The song is catchy, which is probably why it's been covered by people like George Harrison, Simon & Garfunkel, Roy Orbison, and Ray Charles.
You gotta have "All I Have to Do Is Dream" in your playlist. It's so beautiful and relaxing and sad and soothing all at the same time. Enough said.
"Bird Dog" is a lesser known Everly Brothers' hit, but the lyrics are clever and the beat is fast-paced. The song's simple and very fun to sing. Give it a listen and you'll find yourself singing the song later on in the day.
"('Til) I Kissed You" is a must-have Everly Brothers' song. A swanky beat and beautiful harmony is at the core of this song. You'll find yourself singing this song to your significant other, if you're on good terms, as you twirl them about the living room.
"Gone Gone Gone" is a classic break-up empowerment song. If you've ever kicked someone to the curb because they treated you less than in your relationship, then give this song a listen. You'll find yourself feeling a whole lot better. As a bonus check out Alison Kraus and Robert Plant's cover of this song from their album, Raising Sand.
If you like country music, you'll love their classic country roots. If you don't like country music, you'll like their clever lyrics and rebellious attitude. No matter what side of the fence you're on the Dixie Chicks are a win-win for every music fan. Just to be clear - we're talking music here, not politics.
Not having Dolly Parton in your playlist is a sad tale worthy of its own country song. Not only has Dolly Parton's songs topped both the country and pop charts, but she is also an awesome actress and an incredible entertainer.
Parton began her career as a child performer. Starring on a Porter Wagoner's weekly television show, Parton gained prominence in the late 60s, but it wasn't until the 1977 hit "Here You Come Again" that she became a household name.
She steamrolled through the 70s, 80s, and 90s with hits like "9 To 5", "Jolene", "Islands In the Stream", "But You Know I Love You" and " I Will Always Love You", which is one of the best selling singles of all time, with Whitney Houston's help.
"I Will Always Love You" is the second song ever to reach the top three on the Billboard Hot 100 in separate chart runs, and
Parton is the first artist to earn a number one record twice with the same song as a singer, and three times as a writer.
But "I Will Always Love You" is just one of many Dolly Parton songs that are not only genuine and sincere, but also catchy and, at times, heartbreaking. The heartfelt combo is attributed to both Parton's distinct soprano voice and her honest and simple lyrics. Dolly Parton is truly a great songwriter.
Not only is Parton one of the most successful female country artists of all time (estimated 100 million in record sales), but she is also an acclaimed actress, philanthropist, and entrepreneur.
She's an advocate for childhood literacy, creator of Dollywood, and has starred in films like "9 To 5", "Steel Magnolias", "Rhinestone", "Miss Congeniality 2", and she's made countless cameos in TV shows like "The Simpsons".
Here at Vinyl, we have mad respect for Dolly Parton. She's bubbly, playful, and her music is well preserved. She's a classic and a major pioneer for women in the music industry.
Once you've sampled some of her tunes we think you'll agree, there's only one Dolly.
Tipping Our Hat To Dolly
7 Must Have Dolly Tunes
1. 9 To 5
This toe-tapper is a great Monday morning battle cry for your commute. Dolly knows just how it feels to fight through the rat race, and the movie is a hysterical call to arms for women's rights in the workplace that also stars Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, and Dabney Coleman.
One of the most powerful and moving "Keep Your Hands Off My Man" songs out there, "Jolene" is a classic song that represents the honesty and sincerity of Dolly Parton's lyrics.
3. Two Doors Down
Two Doors Down is the kind of song that gets stuck in your head. It's an upbeat tune about recovering from a break-up. The lyrics are classic Dolly, and the song's fun to sing. Plus, it makes you feel good, which is muy importante during the break-up process.
4. Here You Come Again
Here You Come Again is the song that officially put Dolly Parton on the map, earning her the 1979 Granny award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. Such a great song with wonderful lyrics and Dolly's sweet, signature sound.
5. Why'd You Come In Here Lookin' Like That
This song is 100% Dolly. The quirky lyrics and the knee-slappin' pace of the song turns a sad situation into a fun and delightful musical experience. Who hasn't ran into someone they used to date and thought, "dang"?
6. I Will Always Love You
Despite what some in younger generations may think, I Will Always Love You is Dolly Parton's song. Though Whitney Houston made Dolly rich on a cover of the song, I Will Always Love You is a touching, simple, and heartbreaking song about lost love and a must-have for any Dolly fan.
On the album "Little Sparrow", Dolly dabbles with covering a few of her favorite songs. Her remake of "Shine" gives the classic song a bluegrass feel and is a testament to Dolly's longevity, style, and dedication to her roots.
_If you haven't heard of Matthew and the Mandarins, you're not alone. Many people haven't, but apparently back in the day Matthew and the Mandarins were all the rage in Singapore.
Led by Matthew Tan, the five-member band plays a melodic blend of country-western songs, which is a rare find in Singapore's rap and pop music culture of today.
The compilation album of the band's greatest hits includes cover versions of Stranger (Kris Kristofferson), Movin' On (Merle Haggard) and Margaritaville (Jimmy Buffet). There are also original numbers like Let's Put The Sing In Singapore and the very popular Singapore Cowboy.
Ready to get on a horse and ride into the Singapore sunset? The next best thing is to listen to Matthew and the Mandarins. It not only brings back fond memories of the good old days of authentic country music, but also offers a reminder of a time when country music was king in Singapore. Though, we're not exactly sure when that was.
Vinyl Music Shop would like to thank Jimmy the cab driver for helping us discover this amazing find.
Singapore Cowboy - Matthew and the Mandarins
Vinyl is a great place to have a cup of coffee and listen to music. We've got a range of sounds for the eclectic ear and tons of comfortable couches and bean bag chairs, as well as a few private sound booths in case you're a little embarrassed by the kind of music you like to listen to. Every time you walk into Vinyl, it feels like you never left home.
Sound Booth Availability