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.