Bobbie Gentry wrote, recorded and released this song in 1967 and it was a huge international success winning 4 Grammy Awards
out of 8 nominations.
What do you think people asked Gentry about the most about that song? It was what her and Billy Joe threw off the bridge. And the most common guesses were flowers, a ring, a draft card, a bottle of LSD pills, and an aborted baby.
The actual length of this song was originally 11 verses but was cut to 5 so it would air on radio. And then it was decided to make it an A single and not a B side as was originally planned. The song was turned into a novel and a screenplay in 1976.
The is no lead in this song but what makes it odd, besides the creepy storyline, is that it's played with three 7th chords. D7, G7 and C7. I don't recall any other song in all of country music that is played with three 7th chords.
You can play this with a dn-dn-up-dn-up-dn-up-dn-up pattern pretty much all the way thru the song. Or you could use a shuffle pattern like this ... dn-dn-up-dn-up-dn-up-dn-up and repeat.
I hope you found this How To Play Ode To Billy Joe by Bobby Gentry useful and informative.
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