Was it a Baby?

Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode To Billie Joe”

In August 1967, Lyndon Johnson announced that he was sending 45,000 more troops to Vietnam. Black power advocate Stokely Carmichael called for violent revolution in the streets. Beatles manager Brian Epstein died from an overdose of sleeping pills. But around water coolers, the hot topic was what Billie Joe McAllister and his girlfriend threw off the Tallahatchie Bridge.

The mystery created by Bobbie Gentry in her debut single “Ode To Billie Joe” cast a spell over the entire country.

I found this in my inbox today and I do actually realize that it is not current but found it fascinating so I thought I would share.

“Everybody has a different guess about what was thrown off the bridge-flowers, a ring, even a baby. Anyone who hears the song can think what they want, but the real message of the song, if there must be a message, revolves around the nonchalant way the family talks about the suicide. They sit there eating their peas and apple pie and talking, without even realizing that Billie Joe’s girlfriend is sitting at the table, a member of the family.”

Why did he jump? Was it guilt? Was it heartache? Maybe he was just looking for something he lost.

Is the Pony/Pie/Hide rating system too cutsie?

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    • TMC on June 27, 2014 at 4:03 am

  1. may be very close to the mystery of the song. I find your association of the meaning of the song with the decision to send innocent young men to their senseless deaths, deeply felt. It was a time when so much innocence was brutally sacrificed.

    • TMC on June 27, 2014 at 4:26 am

    and the guilt from an act can often send people into deep depression and they can see no escape except to end life.

    It’s just as hard for the living who are left wondering just what was so horrible and, for some could they have done anything to stop it.

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