Sunday, 27 July 2014

One cool missing person

The mysterious Miss Bobbie Gentry celebrates her 70th birthday today. However, we will never know how she celebrated this significant milestone...

Why? Well, as the review in The Guardian of a BBC Radio 2 documentary back in 2012 pointed out:
"...Bobbie is known for two things: Ode to Billie Joe, her astonishingly creepy 1967 single, and her sudden, deliberate disappearance.

After Patchwork, her last album of new material was released in 1971, Bobbie walked out of the spotlight, span on her heel and never looked back. She spent just four years as a star, first knocking the Beatles' All You Need is Love off the top of the US charts, then presenting two primetime shows – one for BBC2 (destroyed: argh), one for CBS in the US – making some exceptional albums, notching up another massive single (Fancy), headlining in Vegas. But she was out of time: her glamorous look, including bigger-than-big hair, meant that Bobbie wasn't taken seriously in an era of no-makeup singer-songwriters...

[apparently she] phoned a couple of her old producers in the last few years – one, Rick Hall, to talk about Reba McEntire's version of Fancy; the other, Jimmie Haskell, to say that she'd written a new song. He didn't have time to help produce it, so he suggested someone else. Bobbie never contacted them. And now she won't return Haskell's calls. She is one cool customer."
Happy birthday, Miss Gentry, wherever you are!

We particularly miss your hairdo - here in huge form on a lesser known hit Rainmaker:

Bobbie Gentry (born Roberta Lee Streeter, 27th July 1944)


  1. Please join us in the Facebook group "Bobbie Gentry Fans":

    1. Hi Matt,

      I don't do Facebook.


  2. Okay, two things,

    I'm from Jackson Mississippi and when I moved away, naturally, I became boyfriends with another man who was from Mississippi. He grew up not too far from my home town. One of his big claims was that Bobbie Gentry was his cousin. He didn't think much of it because he had never actually met her, but his mother confirmed the relationship. She rather gushed about it like she was related to royalty.

    Also, when I attended a junior college in Jackson around 1985 I had a mysterious English composition teacher who had long thick black hair all bundled up on top of her head. She wore thick black eye makeup and was around 40-50 in age but, decidedly sexy in an imperious way. I'll never forget the day she was sharing what she considered to be the greatest lyricist in the world, Bobbi Gentry. Half way through her reading the lyrics of some of her lesser known songs I had the sudden suspicion that I was actually listening to the real Bobbi Gentry. It all fit! Her hair and makeup, her mastery of the nuances of the English language and the structure of song composition etc. I can't remember the teachers name but I felt that I had either met Bobbie Gentry or was in the presence of her NO.1 FAN, and or possibly the best Bobbie Gentry impersonator. I'll never know, as she did not return the following semester.

    Degrees of separation...

    1. I'm sure if that teacher was the real Bobbie Gentry, she's be doing classes in hair and make-up, too...

      I feel honoured to be in the presence of someone with not one, but two connections to the Queen of Hair-Hoppery! Jx

  3. Bobbie Gentry was a major star until the early 1980's. She ruled Las Vegas for a full decade after the hits stopped,signing the first female million dollar contract on the strip in 1970. She refused an extension on a multi-million dollar contract in the early 1980's to devote herself to her young son.


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