Ode to Billy Joe - Mississippi Memories

Real Estate Agent with Front Gate Real Estate Broker 11085

It's been my earworm all weekend. I. CANNOT. GET. IT. OUT. OF. MY. HEAD


Let's start at the beginning. This catchy little ditty was popular a LONG time ago. Written in 1967 by singer/songwriter Bobbie Gentry, the song was wildly popular. It told the story about a young man, Billie Joe McAllister, who jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge.  The singer/songwriter was born in Mississippi and her ballad told of places in the Mississippi Delta. As a pre-teen, I memorized every word and recall it to this day.


Fast forward to present day, and I'm showing homes in Bradshaw Ridge., a neighborhood in Madison County.  While Bradshaw Ridge isn't the same name as in the song, it is similar enough for me to get this ditty stuck in my head.


Since I can't get the song out of my head, I thought I'd share the lyrics with you. I hope you enjoy it; pass the biscuits please.


It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day
I was out choppin' cotton, and my brother was balin' hay
And at dinner time we stopped and walked back to the house to eat
And mama hollered out the back door, y'all, remember to wipe your feet
And then she said, I got some news this mornin' from Choctaw Ridge
Today, Billy Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge
And papa said to mama, as he passed around the blackeyed peas
Well, Billy Joe never had a lick of sense; pass the biscuits, please
There's five more acres in the lower forty I've got to plow
And mama said it was shame about Billy Joe, anyhow
Seems like nothin' ever comes to no good up on Choctaw Ridge
And now Billy Joe MacAllister's jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge
And brother said he recollected when he, and Tom, and Billie Joe
Put a frog down my back at the Carroll County picture show
And wasn't I talkin' to him after church last Sunday night?
I'll have another piece-a apple pie; you know, it don't seem right
I saw him at the sawmill yesterday on Choctaw Ridge
And now ya tell me Billie Joe's jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge
And mama said to me, child, what's happened to your appetite?
I've been cookin' all morning, and you haven't touched a single bite
That nice young preacher, Brother Taylor, dropped by today
Said he'd be pleased to have dinner on Sunday, oh, by the way
He said he saw a girl that looked a lot like you up on Choctaw Ridge
And she and Billy Joe was throwing somethin' off the Tallahatchie Bridge
A year has come and gone since we heard the news 'bout Billy Joe
And brother married Becky Thompson; they bought a store in Tupelo
There was a virus going 'round; papa caught it, and he died last spring
And now mama doesn't seem to want to do much of anything
And me, I spend a lot of time pickin' flowers up on Choctaw Ridge
And drop them into the muddy water off the Tallahatchie Bridge
Source: LyricFind

Comments (15)

Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

I do remember the song and now will have it in my head for a bit as well.

Aug 15, 2021 06:11 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I didn't know much about Billy Joe until this post. Thank you for posting

Aug 15, 2021 06:17 PM
Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint-Idaho
Sandpoint Realty LLC - Sandpoint, ID
North Idaho Real Estate - 208-255.6227

I purposely did not read the lyrics or watch the video because I did not want this little ditty stuck in my head also.  lol  Great summer song though.  No matter where you live.  Mark

Aug 15, 2021 06:21 PM
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty

That's ok. It's still in my head...

Aug 16, 2021 05:38 AM
Susan Emo
Sotheby's International Realty Canada - Brokerage - Kingston, ON
Kingston and the 1000 Islands Area

Loved this song and sang it often at Karaoke lol   I also enjoyed the movie.

Aug 15, 2021 06:28 PM
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty

I don't believe I saw the movie, but that song was a smash hit. 

Aug 16, 2021 05:39 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Pat - although I am not much of a music expert I do understand the power of the earworm.  Thanks to you and this post, I think my inspiration for the day has its own musical accompaniment.  

Aug 16, 2021 12:58 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

I haven't heard that song in awhile.  I remember when it was popular years ago!  It's still a pretty song today. . .Better than that rap stuff!

Aug 16, 2021 01:26 AM
Rocky Dickerson
Realty One Group - Las Vegas, NV
Superior Service!

I remember that song well. Since my dad was from Mississippi, we heard it a lot. Plus she did some great material with Glen Campbell. Great artist.

Aug 16, 2021 07:55 AM
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty

I didn't remember her work with Glen Campbell, but that was quite a few years ago. Rocky Dickerson  You may have told me this before, but where was your dad from in MS?

Aug 16, 2021 09:20 AM
Wendy Rulnick
Rulnick Realty, Inc. - Destin, FL
"It's Wendy... It's Sold!"

Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty lovely song! It's broken up my day, in a positive way!

Aug 16, 2021 01:23 PM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Pat I not only remember this song well, but I also remember singing along with it many times as a teenager.

Aug 16, 2021 05:44 PM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, CRB, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

I so remember that song Pat.  It's running through my head right now!!

Aug 16, 2021 09:28 PM
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

This is not one that rings a bell with me reading through the lyrics.  I imagine if the sound on my notebook were working, I would recognize the tune though.

Aug 17, 2021 10:46 AM
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty

Each time I respond to a comment, the song pops back in my head. I didn't realize at the time it was a hit nationally, but apparently it was quite famous. 

Aug 17, 2021 07:15 PM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thanks for sharing some of your fond memories.

Keep singing and have a productive week.

Aug 25, 2021 06:15 AM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Pat there were a few songs I loved by Bobbie Gentry growing up and this was one of them :)Endre

Aug 31, 2021 10:58 PM
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty

Endre Barath, Jr. every time I return to the post to read a comment, I start singing it again. 😂

Sep 02, 2021 01:54 PM
Jim Patton
Aspire Home Real Estate 209-404-0816 - Modesto, CA
Realtor - Stanislaus ,Merced, San Joaquin Counties

Hi Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty I remember this song well.  I also read the lyrics and watched the video.  It will stuck in my head for a while now. 

Sep 15, 2021 01:09 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Well I agree with you so sing it again PAT:)) glad you shared your thoughts in the comment, Endre

Sep 19, 2021 11:24 PM