March 25

“Ode to Billie Joe:” A Hauntingly Beautiful Rendition by Lucinda Williams

Bobbie Gentry‘s tale of “Ode to Billie Joe” is a dark and mysterious song. Many people keep asking her the same question. The mystery shredded by her single makes it more interesting and popular.

bobbie gentry ode to billie joe lucinda williams
Photo Credit: Bobbie Gentry/ Muscle Shoals

“Ode to Billie Joe”

“Ode to Billie Joe” was written by Gentry with eleven verses. That’s a lot for less than a five-minute song right? It was first recorded as an acoustic version where Gentry was only accompanied by her guitar, and the song was seven minutes long. When her producer decided to release the song as a single, it was cut short.

Gentry recorded the song for her same-titled album. She gained recognition as the song hit the top of both the pop chart in the US and Canada.

Lucinda Williams’ Cover of Bobbie Gentry’s Hit Single

Even though the song has been out for almost fifty-two years, the story of Billie Joe has always been captivating. This year, the rock band Mercury Rev collaborated with various artists to revive Gentry’s second album The Delta Sweete. They invited artists from different genres to make the album possible. One of the artists featured in their album was Lucinda Williams.

Williams performed Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe” on the album. She added her unique style on her version making it sound more mysterious than the original version. Mercury Rev did quite a great job bringing a classic Southern Gothic song to life. Let’s not forget how Williams also added to the incredible outcome of the song too.

The Delta Sweete Revisited

The Delta Sweete Revisited was released last February 8 under the Partisan Records. Other artists featured in Mercury Rev’s newest album were Margo Price, Norah Jones, and many more.


  • “Okolona River Bottom Band” feat. Norah Jones
  • “Big Boss Man” feat. Hope Sandoval
  • “Reunion” feat. Rachel Goswell
  • “Parchman Farm” feat. Carice van Houten
  • “Mornin’ Glory” feat. Laetitia Sadier
  • “Sermon” feat. Margo Price
  • “Tobacco Road” feat. Susanne Sundfor
  • “Penduli Pendulum” feat. Vashti Bunyan and Kaela
  • “Jesseye’ Lizabeth” feat. Phoebe Bridgers
  • “Refractions” feat. Marissa Nadler
  • “Courtyard” feat. Beth Orton
  • “Ode to Billie Joe” feat. Lucinda Williams


Bobbie Gentry, Lucinda Williams

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