TALK & OPINIONS BY SILVIO CANTO JR.

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1968: Jeannie C. Riley’s “Harper Valley PTA” makes country & pop history

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jeannie-c-riley-harper-valley-pta-back

Who would have predicted this?   Who would have thought that a country song about a PTA would make history?    

It did this week in 1968:  

With her career-defining hit song, 23-year-old Jeannie C. Riley accomplished a crossover feat that no other woman would match for another dozen years: On September 21, 1968, she became the first female performer to top the Billboard Country and Pop charts simultaneously, with “Harper Valley P.T.A.”

Perhaps never in pop history has one voice been more right for one song than Jeannie C. Riley’s was for “Harper Valley P.T.A.” Indeed, it was her speaking voice, and not her singing, that got Riley noticed and picked out for the song. She had come to Nashville from her native Anson, Texas, in her early 20s to pursue a singing career, but it was on her day job as a receptionist at that she was noticed by the legendary country-music record producer Shelby Singleton.

Recognizing her voice as perfect for the protagonist in songwriter Tom T. Hall’s crypto-feminist tale of a small-town Southern widow’s fight for her right to wear her skirts short and her heels high, Singleton had Riley record “Harper Valley P.T.A.” as her first professional demo, which was released as a single that charged up the Pop and Country charts in mid-summer 1968.”

And it was a fun song and a bit hit!

 

 

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Written by scantojr

September 21, 2016 at 9:00 am

Posted in US politics

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