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After 4 weeks at #1, it spent the next 2 weeks at #2...
And September 16th, 1967 it also reached #1 (for 1 week) on the Canadian RPM Top singles chart...
Thanks.*** 'Billy Joe Mc Allister jumped off the Tallahatchie bridge' ***On June 20th 1972, the Tallahatchie Bridge in Leflore County, Mississippi collapsed (the bridge had been damaged by vandals, who had lit a fire on it)...
Bobbie Gentry sang a fictional ode to an archetypal girlfriend who could not endure the social reactivity of southern white Protestants embedded in norms traditional morality.
It happened in Blythe, CA on a hot summer night sitting on the balcony overlooking the Colorado River after a gig at a club there in town where she was in a band with my old friend Rockabilly singer Jody Reynolds (Endless Sleep) whom she made her recording debut with on Titan Records in 1964 on one 45 single release 'Stranger In The Mirror' b/w 'Requiem For Love' which didn't really crash the charts.
She was Jody's rhythm guitarist and she sang duets and background vocals - the other band members are unknown except for Palm Springs local legend Bobby Craig was playing piano with Jody an unknown bass & drums.
The assumptions of listeners and readers for decades have predictably overlooked the hidden-in-plain-sight affection between two young females, throwing flowers into a river as doomed lovers have done for centuries in western literature.
My take on the lyrics is that the girl narrating the story is young, perhaps 14 or 15, and Billie Joe is older, most likely in his 20s, so they must keep their love for each other a secret which is obvious from the song.
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Nowhere in the song, "Ode to Billie Joe," is Billie Joe referred to as "he" or "him," or as a boy or as a male.