Below on this page I'll explain to you how to play The Harper Valley PTA By Jeannie C Riley. You'll also find my demo video clip
and free tabs in the upper left hand menu.
In 1968 no one really heard much about a country singer from Stamford Texas by the name of Jeannie C Riley. But that all changed when she released a
single called Harper Valley PTA. This song was written by Tom T Hall, and to say timing is everything is an understatement.
Two other country singers also recorded this song, but Riley's version was released about a week ahead of the others and because of that, it topped both the US Pop Charts and the US Country charts at the same time. That had never happened before for a female artist, and would not happen again until 1981 when Dolly Parton did it with her single 9 to 5.
Harper Valley PTA went on to sell more than 5 million copies worldwide and was Riley's only #1 song in the US. She has a second #1 in Canada that same year with "The Girl Most Likely".
In the 1970's she moved into Gospel music and away from country but always performed this song at public appearances. She was later swindled out of a pile of money by her manager and slipped into a depression for a time. Today she is healthy and happy thanks to her faith and family intervention.
Tom T Hall wrote the song one day when he passed by the Harpeth Valley Elementary School in Bellevue, Tennessee. Hall lived nearby in Franklin TN at the
time. Skeeter Davis could have recorded the song first but she passed, and Jennie C Riley did not pass as we know.
The song opened many doors for Riley including a TV series, a Harper Valley PTA movie, a Grammy Award and appearances with Bing Crosby, Dean Martin and other well know performers.
Check out the clip above. Her publicist was responsible for showcasing her sex appeal with her mini-skirts and boots, which was unheard of in country in 1969.
Like most country songs from this time, this is a simple 3 chord song, but it does 2 half step moves, so we have a few additional chords.
Im playing this in the original key of A but with a capo on the 2nd fret. The chords you'll need are G, C7, D7, G#, C#7, D#, A, A7, D7
and an E7.
I didn't bother putting any picking in the song except a small hammer on at the beginning on the D string open G and a small riff at the end of the song. There are fully explained in the full instructional tutorial.
You can play this one a few different ways when it comes to rhythm. You can use a note-dn-up-note-up-dn-up (repeat) pattern or what I doing is a double
down stroke by playing note-dn-dn-note-up-dn-up (repeat). Either way will work just fine.
As you move into the transition chord such as the D# and the A, you can play a chop using all down strokes as you'll see me do in the demo above.
I don't suspect many guys will perform this song because it's written from a female perspective, but the female singers out there who play country should definitely add this song to their toolbox of tunes because it's well known worldwide.
I hope you found this How To Play The Harper Valley PTA By Jeannie C Riley useful and informative. Feel free to tweet about it (bottom of the page) or like it on Facebook from the "Like" button above or below as that is also most welcomed.