Bobbie Gentry, właśc. Roberta Lee Streeter (ur. 27 lipca 1944 w hrabstwie Chickasaw) – amerykańska piosenkarka i autorka tekstów.
Gentry była jedną z pierwszych kobiet grających napisane przez siebie utwory country. Swoim pierwszym albumem "Ode to Billie Joe" wygrała nagrodę Grammy w kategoriach: Best New Artist i Best Female Pop Vocal (Najlepsza nowa artystka, najlepszy kobiecy wokal) w 1968. "Ode to Billie Joe" była czwartą najbardziej popularną piosenką w USA w 1967. Piosenkarka straciła swoją popularność w latach 70. i zakończyła karierę artystyczną.
Roberta Streeter jest częściowo portugalskiego pochodzenia. Jej rodzice rozwiedli się krótko po jej urodzeniu. Po tym jak jej babcia sprzedała jedną z krów za pianino sąsiadów, siedmioletnia Bobbie skomponowała swoją pierwszą piosenkę "My Dog Sergeant Is a Good Dog" (Mój pies sierżant to dobry pies). Uczęszczała do elementarnej szkoły w Greenwood w Missisipi i sama nauczyła się grać m.in. na gitarze i banjo. Mając 13 lat przeprowadziła się do Arcadii w Kalifornii, by żyć z matką Ruby Bullington Streeter. Jej siostra Rosemary żyje w Vancouver w Kanadzie. Była dużo młodsza i została nauczycielką.
Roberta Streeter ukończyła Palm Valley School w 1960. Wybrała pseudonim sceniczny "Bobbie Gentry" z filmu Ruby Gentry i zaczęła występować w lokalnym klubie. Gentry przeprowadziła się do Los Angeles, by pracować w biurze i czasem grac w klubach. Później przekazała Los Angeles Conservatory of Music jej kompozycje muzyczne i przedstawiła swoje umiejętności. W 1964 nagrała swój debiut "Ode to Love" i "Stranger in the Mirror" z Jody Reynolds.
Gentry wzięła ślub z przedsiębiorcą Billem Harrah w Reno w Nevadzie, ale małżeństwo trwało krótko. W 1979 Gentry wyszła z piosenkarza i autora tekstów Jima Stafforda. Ich małżeństwo przetrwało 11 miesięcy. Gentry ma jednego syna ze Staffordem, który ma na imię Tyler.
W 1967 Gentry wyprodukowała pierwszy kawałek "Mississippi Delta"/"Ode to Billie Joe", opisując samobójstwo Billie Joe McAllistera, który skoczył z Tallahatchie Bridge. Singel sprzedał się w 3 milionach kopii. Magazyn Rolling Stone umieścił Ode to Billie Joe na liście 500 najlepszych utworów wszech czasów. Bobbie Gentry dostała trzy nagrody Grammy w 1968 łącznie z "Najlepszą nową artystką" i "Najlepszych kobiecym wokalem".
Dodatkowo została nazwana najlepszą nową wokalistką w Krajowej Akademii Muzycznej. Kolejne płyty Gentry nie dorównały poprzednim. W 1968 współpracowała z Glenem Campbellem. W październiku 1969 piosenka Bobbie pt.: "I'll Never Fall In Love Again" napisana przez Burta Bacharacha i Hala Davida była bardzo popularna w Wielkiej Brytanii. W styczniu 1970 stała się numerem szóstym na liście Billboard Hot 100, lecz w wykonaniu Dionne Warwick. In 1970 uznanie zyskała piosenka "Fancy" napisana i wykonana przez Bobbie Gentry. (wikipedia)
Dla mnie osobiście jedna z najlepszych wokalistek jakie słyszałem, i które poważam.
Roberta Lee Streeter (born July 27, 1944), professionally known as Bobbie Gentry, is an American singer-songwriter notable as one of the first female country artists to compose and produce her own material. Her songs typically drew on her Mississippi roots to compose vignettes of the Southern United States.
Gentry rose to international fame with her intriguing Southern Gothic narrative "Ode to Billie Joe" in 1967. The track spent four weeks as the #1 pop song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was fourth in the Billboard year-end chart of 1967 and earned her Grammy awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1968. Gentry charted eleven singles on the Billboard Hot 100 and four singles on the United Kingdom Top 40. Her album Fancy brought her a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. After her first albums, she had a successful run of variety shows on the Las Vegas Strip. She lost interest in performing in the late 1970s, and since has lived privately in Los Angeles.
Gentry was born Roberta Streeter and is of English and Portuguese ancestry. She was born in Chickasaw County, Mississippi, an only child to Robert and Ruby (Bullington) Streeter. Her parents divorced shortly after her birth, and her mother moved to California. She was raised on her grandparents' farm in Chickasaw County. Her grandmother traded one of the family's milk cows for a neighbor's piano, and seven-year-old Bobbie composed her first song, "My Dog Sergeant Is a Good Dog". She attended school in Greenwood, Mississippi, and began teaching herself to play the guitar, bass, banjo, and vibes.
She moved to Arcadia, California, at age 13 to live with her mother. Gentry graduated from Palm Valley School in 1960. She chose her stage name from the 1952 film, Ruby Gentry, about a heroine born into poverty but determined to make a success of her life. She began performing at local country clubs, and encouraged by Bob Hope, she performed in a revue at Les Folies Bergeres nightclub of Las Vegas.
Gentry then moved to Los Angeles to enter UCLA as a philosophy major. She supported herself with clerical jobs, occasionally performing at nightclubs. She later transferred to the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music to develop her composition and performing skills. In 1964, she made her recording debut in two duets – "Requiem for Love" and "Stranger in the Mirror" with rockabilly singer Jody Reynolds. She continued performing in nightclubs until Capitol Records executive Kelly Gordon heard a demo she had recorded in 1967.
In 1967 Gentry produced her first single, the country rock "Mississippi Delta". It, however, was the flipside to "Ode to Billie Joe". With its sparse sound and controversial lyrics, it started to receive airplay in the U.S. Capitol's shortened version added to the song's mystery. Questions arose among the listeners: what did Billie Joe and his girlfriend throw off the Tallahatchie Bridge, and why did Billie Joe commit suicide? Gentry herself has commented on the song, saying that its real theme was indifference:
“ Those questions are of secondary importance in my mind. The story of Billie Joe has two more interesting underlying themes. First, the illustration of a group of people's reactions to the life and death of Billie Joe, and its subsequent effect on their lives, is made. Second, the obvious gap between the girl and her mother is shown, when both women experience a common loss (first, Billie Joe and, later, Papa), and yet Mama and the girl are unable to recognize their mutual loss or share their grief. ”
The track topped the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks in August 1967 and placed No. 4 in the year-end chart. The single hit No. 8 on Billboard Black Singles and No. 13 in the UK Top 40 and sold over three million copies all over the world. Rolling Stone magazine listed it among the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in 2001. Her homonymous LP replaced Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band at the top of U.S. charts and reached No. 5 of the Billboard Black Albums charts. Gentry won three Grammy Awards in 1967, including Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. She was also named the Academy of Country Music's Best New Female Vocalist.
In February 1968 Gentry took part in the Italian Song Festival in Sanremo, as one of two performers (alongside Al Bano) of the song "La siepe" by Vito Pallavicini and Massara. In a competition of 24 songs, the entry qualified to the final 14 and eventually placed ninth.
Gentry (along with many other celebrities) was one of the original "owners" of the Phoenix Suns basketball team (in their first season).Bobbie Gentry's second album, The Delta Sweete, released in 1968, did not match the success of her first. It yielded a Billboard top-sixty hit "Okolona River Bottom Band". She also collaborated on the album Bobbie Gentry & Glen Campbell, which earned a gold record certificate. Gentry made numerous guest appearances on TV shows hosted by Glen Campbell, Tom Jones, Andy Williams, Carol Burnett and Bobby Darin. Among them was her performance of the Cajun number "Niki Hoeky" on The Summer Smothers Brothers Show. In 1969, she released Touch 'Em with Love, her most critically acclaimed album, which gave her a number-one hit in the UK with "I'll Never Fall In Love Again" written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. In January 1970 it became a number-six hit on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for Dionne Warwick.
Also in 1970 she received recognition for her composition "Fancy", which rose to No. 26 on the U.S. Country charts and No. 31 on the pop charts. Gentry's personal view on the song:
“ "Fancy" is my strongest statement for women's lib, if you really listen to it. I agree wholeheartedly with that movement and all the serious issues that they stand for — equality, equal pay, day care centers, and abortion rights. ”
The album, as was the case with the rest of her post-"Ode to Billie Joe" recordings, had little commercial success. However, it brought Gentry an Academy of Country Music Award and a Grammy nomination, both in the category of Best Female Vocalist.
Gentry generated a significant fan base in the United Kingdom. In 1968/9 Gentry hosted her own series on BBC-TV in London, which was later widely shown in Germany, the Netherlands, Australia and elsewhere. She later signed a million-dollar contract to headline in her own $150,000 nightclub revue in Las Vegas for which she produced, choreographed, and wrote and arranged themusic. She said,
“ I write and arrange all the music, design the costumes, do the choreography, the whole thing. I'm completely responsible for it. It's totally my own from inception to performance. I originally produced "Ode To Billie Joe" and most of my other records, but a woman doesn't stand much chance in a recording studio. A staff producer's name was nearly always put on the records. ”
In 1974, she hosted a short-lived summer replacement variety show on CBS called The Bobbie Gentry Happiness Hour. The show, which was her version of Campbell's hit series The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, also on CBS, was not renewed for a full season. That same year, Gentry wrote and performed "Another Place, Another Time" for writer-director Max Baer, Jr.'s film, Macon County Line.
In 1976, Baer directed the feature film Ode to Billy Joe, which was based on her hit song and starred Robby Benson and Glynnis O'Connor. In the movie, the mystery of the title character's suicide is revealed as a part of the conflict between his love for Bobbie Lee Hartley and his emerging homosexuality. Gentry's re-recording of the song for the film hit the pop charts, as did Capitol's reissue of the original recording; both peaked outside the top fifty. Her behind-the-scenes work in television production failed to hold her interest.
After a 1978 single for Warner Bros. Records, "He Did Me Wrong, But He Did It Right" failed to chart, Gentry decided to retire from show business. Her last public appearances as a performer were on Christmas Night 1978 as a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and on 10 May 1981 on All-Star Salute to Mother's Day. After that, she settled in Los Angeles and remained out of the public eye. (wikipedia)