Bobbie Gentry May Have Briefly Thought About a ’90s Comeback
Country music seems to have nearly forgotten one-time megastar Bobbie Gentry, who rose to mainstream fame in 1967 with pop crossover hit "Ode to Billy Joe," and just as suddenly vanished in the early '80s. However, Gentry's most devoted fans have never forgotten the singer. Neither have the host of country stars who count her as an influence, such as Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves and Tanya Tucker.
In fact, Gentry's career made such an impression on so many people that a comeback would have been a huge development for her fanbase, even years after her retirement from the music industry. It almost happened -- but ultimately, it wasn't meant to be.
According to this week's episode of The Secret History of Country Music, Gentry considered returning to music in the '90s, In Bobbie Gentry's Ode to Billy Joe, a book about the singer's seminal debut album, author Tara Murtha suggests that Gentry may not have been quite as committed to leaving the music industry behind as fans had thought.
"Jimmy Haskell, the extraordinarily talented composer who arranged the strings on Ode to Billy Joe and other records, says she called him up out of the blue in the late 1990s to talk about making another record," Murtha writes. Haskell didn't have time in his immediate schedule to explore the possibility of making new music, and Gentry dropped the idea, never mentioning it again.
To learn more about how Gentry paid the entire music industry an Irish goodbye in the middle of a prolific career, as well as the reasons behind her self-imposed exile -- and to learn where she is today -- press play on the video above to watch the latest episode of The Secret History of Country Music, from The Boot's partner site, Taste of Country.
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