Sunday, September 18, 2011

Why DID Billy Joe McAllister Jump Off of Tallahatchie Bridge?

Sure beats the heck out of me, but they just played the Bobbie Gentry song on CBC Radio 2 (the only CBC station I partake of these days), and darned if it didn't make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

1 comment:

Carlos Perera said...

"Ode to Billy Joe" was very popular in the late 1960s here in the American South; I remember that for a while you couldn't _not_ listen to it on the local radio stations in Florida.

Like Scaramouche, I don't know why Billy Joe jumped off the Tallahatchie bridge, but I, too, feel a small frisson whenever I hear the song. I think one reason it has that effect is precisely because the listener can't know for sure why Billy Joe committed suicide (or did he?), which lets the dark side of his or her imagination run riot . . . as in James' _Turn of the Screw_, which also makes the little hairs on the back off my neck stand up, for much the same reason.