Billy Joe

What is the story behind the song ‘Billy Joe’?
It was sung by Bobbie Gentry, and apparently ‘Billy Joe McAlister’ jumped off the ‘Tallahachie Bridge’. ‘Chocktaw Ridge’ was also in it.
There was a film decades ago, (which I missed), so I’d like to know what happened and why.
(I just heard the song again; that’s why I’m asking now). Thank you!

You must not have seen the movie that was based on the song.

When Bobbie Gentry recorded the song in the mid-60’s she said she would never divulge the mysteries.

That was true for about 10 years.

Billy Joe jumped off the bridge because he was ashamed that he had had a one-night stand with a guy. In the movie, it was James Best, “Twilight Zone” veteran, and the erstwhile “Roscoe P. Coltrane” from “Dukes of Hazzard.”

The thing that they were throwing off the bridge was a doll–that I think belonged to his girlfriend.

Maybe IMDB has more info. Look there.

Just in case you’ve never used IMDB:

Hey, Mjollnir, here in MPSIMS we want wild-assed guesses, not hard facts…otherwise glee would have posted this in General Questions.

I haven’t heard this song in so long, my guesses are going to be REALLY wildass.
Like, I always thought the thing they threw off the bridge was an aborted fetus.

And wasn’t there some speculation that the whole “shame” component came from some homosexual liason (the song came out pre-Stonewall, remember).

If this thread turns out to be fun, I get dibs on starting the one for “Sally Go Round the Roses” !


Oh wait…I thought this was going to be a thread about the Saints quarterback…

Carry on, then!

Oops! Sorry Uke.

This is what they were really throwing off the bridge, never to be seen again: The third word ending in “-gry.”

Oh, damn. Sorry for repeating Mjoll’s info. For some reason, I always thought of “Billy Joe” as being a GIRL. Too much time spent watching PETTICOAT JUNCTION.

Told you I hadn’t heard the song for a long time.


They were feeding the chupacabra.

My first thread - and I put it in the wrong category (sorry Ukulele Ike).

Anyway I found ‘Ode to Billy Joe’ in the movie database (thanks Mjollnir!), where it said it was based on a mysterious song. Also I’ve got a fair idea of the plot from your answers - so well done the Teeming Millions
(or at least the 4 of you)!

Now all I need to know is the name of the Saints quarterback (are they still New Orleans? - I can’t keep track of the city changes).

Also I used a signature for the first time (chest swells with pride)

I just had deja vu, and I’m sure it’s happened before…

Poop. This is not going well at ALL.

Hey, gang, this is a WONDERFUL topic for loopy theorizing! Jump in, here!

[glaces at watch] If I didn’t have a hot date with a certain New Jersey tomato, I’d start the ball rolling myself…


Billy Joe Hobert and the Saints are still in New Orleans. If they don’t have a winning season soon that may change though.

UncleBeer - lifelong suffering Saints fan

“The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind.” - Humphrey Bogart

Don’t they have the other Billy Joe (Tolliver) as a backup, too?

Yep, he’s been kicked around the league quite a bit lately, but he’s with the Saints now. How’s that for a pair of shit-kicker QB’s?

“The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind.” - Humphrey Bogart

Being a Bills fan, I have no love lost for Billy Joe Hobart. Of course, maybe now that he’s with Ditka he bothered to memorize the playbook…

I heard some radio guy here in the SF Bay Area tell this story:
When that song was really big, he looked it up, found that there really IS a Tallahachee Bridge, called the Sheriff’s office in the town, and ON-AIR he told the sheriff, “Billy Joe McAllister jumped off the Tallahachee Bridge”. The sherif asked how he knew this, and told the sheriff that everybody knew. He claims that they went out dragging the river for a couple of days.
I don’t know if it’s true, but it was funny when he said it…

Aw c’mon.

Everybody knows Billie Joe was the girl that got knocked up by Michael Jackson. The bastard then went on to deny his involvement in the entire deal. He even went as far to devote an entire song to it:

“Billie Joe is not my lover,
she’s just a girl who claims that I am the one…
But the kid is not my son”

Subsequently, Billie Joe jumped off the Tallahashee bridge, unable to cope with his blatant lies. This, in turn, freaked out Michael Jackson so bad, that:

a) he turned white;
b) started spending all his spare time with young boys, either his own or anyones kids.

How’s that for Wild-Ass :wink:


“You know how complex women are”

  • Neil Peart, Rush (1993)