PodcastSteve’s Radio Archive: The Hidden References to Bobbie Gentry Songs in the Movie “Ode to Billy Joe”

In 1976, Robbie Benson and Glynnis O’Connor starred in a movie version of the 1967 Bobbie Gentry folk classic, “Ode to Billy Joe.” At the time of the movie’s release, I was a student DJ at WMCX-FM at Monmouth University. I was also the “production engineer” for some basement tape recordings my dad made with a musical colleague from Fort Monmouth, NJ who happened to be Bobbie Gentry’s brother. After one visit with his sister during which he shared the music tapes he and my dad recorded, he returned with a complete set of Bobbie Gentry albums for me.

Needless to say, I became very familiar with her music, and when I saw the movie, I was quite surprised by all the hidden references to her other songs in the movie. None of that got very much attention at the time, so I decided to do a radio show special focusing on the hidden references. That show aired August 26, 1976 and is shared here for the first time in podcast form, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the song, “Ode to Billy Joe.”

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