Why Bobbie Gentry’s ’90s Comeback Didn’t End Up Happening
Bobbie Gentry became one of country music's most elusive figures after she vanished from the public eye without a trace in the middle of a very successful career. While Gentry has never been seen in public since 1981, most fans don't know that the reclusive singer-songwriter actually contemplated a musical comeback in the 1990s that never came together.
Gentry shot to fame after "Ode to Billie Joe" became a worldwide hit in 1967, and she was a huge star over the ensuing decade-plus, landing another huge hit with "Fancy" and a string of duets with Glen Campbell, hosting a popular TV variety show and writing, proucing and choreographing a high-dollar show in Las Vegas. She disappeared without fanfare in 1981 after growing increasingly disillusioned with the music business, but according to Tara Murtha's book Bobbie Gentry's Ode to Billie Joe, Gentry considered a return to her music career before ultimately deciding not to pursue it.
"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 reports. Haskell did not have time in his schedule to pursue a project in the immediate time frame proposed, and Gentry dropped the idea and never contacted him about it again.
Gentry's shelved comeback was one story Taste of Country reported in a recent episode of The Secret History of Country Music dedicated to Gentry's career and mysterious disappearance. The video series explores some of country music's greatest untold stories.
Carrie Underwood, Eric Church and Miranda Lambert are among the artists already featured, with many more to come. Be sure to subscribe to Taste of Country's YouTube channel so you never miss a new episode.
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