Harper Valley PTA by Jeannie C Riley

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Harper Valley PTA by Jeannie C Riley

Jeannie C Riley Harper Valley PTA

Country Pop

A small town with small-town minds, a teenage girl’s widowed mother who’s accused of scandalous behavior, minkskirts, and an exposé of the real goings on in the town. As the lyrics say, “This is just a little Peyton Place and you’re all Harper Valley hypocrites.” What’s not to like? The song was written by singer, songwriter, novelist Tom T. Hall. (Hmm, there is certainly a resemblance in the tune to Bobby Gentry’s “ode to Billie Joe,” but never you mind.) Hall offered it first to Skeeter Davis, but she turned it down. Then Plantation Records hurried up Riley’s release of the song because they found out that Billy Jo Spears and Margie Singleton had recorded it. Riley’s rendition was the smash, though; it was one of the big country music hits of the Sixties. In 1968, the song topped many charts, including #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles, Canadian charts, and in Australia. It was #4 on the U.S. Adult Contemporary chart and #12 in the U.K. Until Dolly Parton topped the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and Country charts in 1981 with “9 to 5,” Riley was the first woman to do so. “Harper Valley PTA” won Riley a Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance, Female. Sock it to them, mama!

There have been numerous covers, including versions by Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Norma Jean, Bobbi Martin, Lynn Anderson, Jeannie Seely, Dottie West, Martina McBride, Sheb Woley (as parody by persona “Ben Colder”), and Squeeze, to name a few.

Jeannie C Riley was born Jeanne Carolyn Stephenson in Stamford, Texas. She has been a singer many decades, since the late 1960s, in the country music and gospel genres.

Here are the lyrics to “Harper Valley PTA” by Jeannie C Riley:

I want to tell you all a story ’bout a Harper Valley widowed wife
Who had a teenage daughter who attended Harper Valley Junior High
Well her daughter came home one afternoon and didn’t even stop to play
She said, “Mom, I got a note here from the Harper Valley P.T.A.”

The note said, “Mrs. Johnson, you’re wearing your dresses way too high
It’s reported you’ve been drinking and a-runnin’ ’round with men and going wild
And we don’t believe you ought to be a-bringing up your little girl this way”
It was signed by the secretary, Harper Valley P.T.A.

Well, it happened that the P.T.A. was gonna meet that very afternoon
They were sure surprised when Mrs. Johnson wore her mini-skirt into the room
And as she walked up to the blackboard, I can still recall the words she had to say
She said, “I’d like to address this meeting of the Harper Valley P.T.A.”

Well, there’s Bobby Taylor sittin’ there and seven times he’s asked me for a date
Mrs. Taylor sure seems to use a lot of ice whenever he’s away
And Mr. Baker, can you tell us why your secretary had to leave this town?
And shouldn’t widow Jones be told to keep her window shades all pulled completely down?

Well, Mr. Harper couldn’t be here ’cause he stayed too long at Kelly’s Bar again
And if you smell Shirley Thompson’s breath, you’ll find she’s had a little nip of gin
Then you have the nerve to tell me you think that as a mother I’m not fit
Well, this is just a little Peyton Place and you’re all Harper Valley hypocrites

No I wouldn’t put you on because it really did, it happened just this way
The day my Mama socked it to the Harper Valley P.T.A.
The day my Mama socked it to the Harper Valley P.T.A.

Please click here if you are interested in reading about and listening to “Ode to Billie Joe” by Bobbie Gentry.

Check Out The Groove Pad for More 1960s Music

The Pass the Paisley Groove Pad is a resting stop, a place to chill out and listen to the featured song on the stereo. If the mood strikes you, click on the juke box to access and listen to the 50+ free online songs there. The TV has several channels, with selections updated twice a week. Every now and then, Pass the Paisley hosts an all-request of 1960s and 1970s songs for a Be-In at the juke box in the Groove Pad. Keep on truckin’. Hope you enjoyed “Harper Valley PTA” by Jeannie C Riley.

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