- Ode to Billie Joe
- The Delta Sweete Capitol
- Local Gentry Capitol
- Touch ‘Em with Love
- Bobbie Gentry’s Greatest!
- Bobbie Gentry’s Greatest
- Sittin’ Pretty Capitol
- Tobacco Road
- All I Have to Do Is Dream
- Let It Be Me
- Mississippi Delta
- Okolona River Bottom Band #
- Penduli Pendulum
- Sweet Peony
- Tobacco Road
- I’ll Never Fall in Love Again
- Ace Insurance Man
- Touch ‘Em With Love
- Glory Hallelujah, How They’ll Sing
- Papa’s Medicine Show
- Sittin’ Pretty
- Eleanor Rigby
Bobbie Gentry: A Biography
Bobbie Gentry was born Roberta Streeter in Chickasaw County, Mississippi, on July 17, 1944. Her parents divorced when she was very young and her mother moved to California. Gentry was raised by her grandparents on their family farm and attended school in Greenwood, MS. At the age of 13, she moved to California to live with her mother.
As a teenager, Gentry taught herself to play many instruments including the banjo, piano, guitar, bass, and vibes. She played in a local country club while attending Palm Valley School in Arcadia. Later Bobbie also sang in night clubs to help pay for college. She eventually attended the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music. After her graduation, she took the stage name Bobbie Gentry from the movie Ruby Gentry. She performed in local theater and became a dancer in Las Vegas.
Gentry recorded her first single, Mississippi Delta, in 1967 with Capitol Records. The flip side of the record was the song Ode to Billy Joe. It was this song that stayed at the top of the pop charts for four weeks and was listed as number 4 in the year-end charts. The song tells the story of Billie Joe McAllister and the narrator who walk out on the Tallahatchie Bridge and drop something into the water. This story was the basis for a movie screenplay of the same name that was made in 1976. Gentry’s second single, I Saw an Angel Die, was not commercially successful. Her song, Okolona River Bottom Band made it into the Top 60.
Bobby Gentry and Sonny James co-hosted the first Country Music Association awards presentation in 1967 at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium.
Gentry was awarded three Grammy Awards in 1967.
In 1968 Gentry recorded a duet with Glen Campbell called Mornin’ Glory which made it on the pop charts, while Less of Me (the song on the other side of the single) became a hit on the country charts. Gentry and Campbell had hit singles with their versions of two Everly Brothers’ songs: Let It Be Me, which reached 14 on the charts in 1969, and All I Have to Do Is Dream, which peaked at number six in 1970. She and Campbell continued recording together until 1979.
In 1970, Gentry had a number one hit in England with her cover of Burt Bacharach’s I’ll Never Fall in Love Again. She began appearing on numerous TV shows in Great Britain, including an appearance on the Tom Jones Show which led to a variety show of her own on CBS which ran for a summer.
She was later a popular emcee on Armed Forces Radio. According to Richard Hoe (who worked for Harran’s Club in Lake Tahoe around 1962) , Gentry was married to Bill Harrah (owner of Harrah’s Club) before his death.
Bobbie Gentry was also married for a short time to singer Jim Stafford in the late ’70s, but she basically retired from the music industry. For awhile she became involved in television production. It is difficult to find up-to-date information about her. For awhile she lived in Atlanta with her son, who was going to a private school. She later moved to L.A., where it is reported that she owned some farms and that she was writing for the stage.
- All Music: Bobbie Gentry
- Flashback: Bobbie Gentry haunts radio with mysterious suicide ballad by Chris Parton, July 27, 2015 (Rolling Stone)
- Chickasaw County singer’s song remains a mystery 46 years later by Leslie Criss, June 3, 2013 (Daily Journal)