October 17

Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe” Became a No.1 Country Album

In 1967, fifty-one years ago, the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart ranked Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe” album as No.1. It spent three weeks atop and stayed on the said chart for a total of weeks. The album was released on August 21, 1967, under Capitol Records. It was Bobbie Gentry’s first full-length production for the label yet it became a massive success.


Ode to Billie Joe, Album

The album hit different charts in 1967. Besides the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, it also peaked at No.1 on the Billboard Top LP’s chart, and it peaked at No.5 on the Billboard Top Selling R&B Albums chart. Interestingly, the album surpassed “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” from its 15th-week reign. It was the only album to displace The Beatles’ album.


Moreover, the album’s first single “Ode to Billie Joe” skyrocketed, too. It peaked at the No.1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100, No.7 on the Billboard Top 40 Easy Listening chart, No.8 on the Billboard Top Selling R&B Singles, and No.17 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.

Ode to Billie Joe, Single

Bobbie Gentry, herself, wrote the words and lyrics of “Ode to Billie Joe.” She recorded the song in March 1967 and released it on July 10, 1967. It became a success both inside and outside of the country music genre. It generated eight Grammy nominations and received three accolades such as “Best Arrangement, Instrumental and Vocals,” “Best Female Pop Vocal Performance,” and “Best Contemporary Female Solo Vocal Performance.” On the other hand, the song ranked at No.3 as the song of the year.

Furthermore, ‘Ode to Billie Joe” was recognized as 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and 100 Greatest Country Songs by the Rolling Stones and Pitchfork’s 200 Best Songs of 1967.

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Bobbie Gentry, Ode to Billie Joe

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