Click on the song titles above for lyrics and songwriting credits
After writing Another Place, Another Time for the Roger Camras / Max Baer film Macon County Line, Bobbie asked the pair if they would be interested in developing a film based on her song Ode To Billie Joe; they were, and took the project to Warner Brothers who agreed to back the film. Baer commissioned author Herman Raucher to come up with a script inspired by the song and Bobbie’s own ideas. The film was released on the 3rd of June 1976 (when else?) and was a commercial success but received mixed reviews.
Warner Brothers released a soundtrack LP of the film’s score by Michel Legrand, including a re-recorded version of Ode to Billie Joe, here re-titled Ode To Billy Joe to match the film’s title; Bobbie stating that the earlier spelling was infact a mistake, (which is born out by the spelling on her original lyric sheet). The re-recorded version sticks closely to the original release with the only significant difference being Bobbie’s highlighting of the word ‘off’ at the end of the fourth verse. Warners released the recording as a single, and Capitol released the original version, giving Bobbie two concurrent chart placing’s of the same song! In a bizarre twist of fate this meant that Bobbie’s last single to chart would be the same as her first.
Warners also issued a one-sided promotional 12″ called A Special Radio Salute to Bobbie Gentry and Ode To Billy Joe which featured a 15 minute profile of Bobbie talking about her childhood, the song and film. The film is currently available on DVD, and the soundtrack recently appeared on CD for the first time in a limited edition by Kritzerland.