I'd just like to wish everyone a happy Billie Joe McAllister memorial day. Hope you've got something good planned to take your mind off these weird and trying times. Hopefully nothing that includes a bridge though.
A song, 'Ode to Billie Joe' by Bobbie Gentry. A laid back, southern delta kind of song that became an unlikely enormous international hit in 1967. The opening line is, 'it was the third of June'. That's the day that Billie jumped off a bridge.
Loved listening to Bobbie Gentry in my younger days, I still have the album. Never been to the Tallahatchee (sp?)Bridge though.
Where is the Tallahatchie Bridge?
The bridge mentioned in this song collapsed in June 1972 after a fire. It crossed the Tallahatchie River at Money, about ten miles (16 km) north of Greenwood, Mississippi, and has since been rebuilt. The November 10, 1967, issue of Life magazine contained a photo of Gentry crossing the original bridge.
...and from songfacts.com:
What is the meaning behind the song Tallahatchie Bridge?
This song tells the story of the fictional Billie Joe McAllister, who kills himself by jumping off the Tallahatchie Bridge. ... Bobbie Gentry explained: "The message of the song revolves around the nonchalant way the family talks about the suicide. The song is a study in unconscious cruelty."
...and from quora.com:
What did they throw off the Tallahatchie Bridge?
According the movie, Billy Joe committed suicide, because of his guilt over getting drunk at a party and having a homosexual experience. The object thrown off the bridge was a rag doll owned by the narrator, meant to symbolize how she was leaving her childhood innocence behind.
...or another theory from tv.avclub.com:
Why did Billie Joe McAllister jump off the Tallahatchie Bridge?
The only clue is that the local pastor saw someone who looked just like the narrator with Billie Joe, tossing something off the bridge. The most likely and saddest theory is that it was a stillborn baby, and Billie Joe's guilt over that death leads him to make his fatal dive.
How much of this is really true, I have no idea. Of course, if it is on the internet, then it simply MUST be true.
Personally, I think the story was about a faked UFO abduction...JUST KIDDING!!!
Though I remember when the tune was all over the radio, but I can't honestly say I gave it much thought. There was much more engaging music going on at the time than Top 40.