Most song lyrics are pretty cut-and-dry, telling simple tales of love and/or drugs with predictable, clear outcomes for everyone involved.

Most song lyrics are pretty cut-and-dry, telling simple tales of love and/or drugs with predictable, clear outcomes for everyone involved. But sometimes, a song refuses to give away all of its secrets, leaving us to sit back and fill in the blanks ourselves. Here's our attempt to pull back the curtain on some classic mysteries of music that the artists aren't bothering to unveil themselves.

'Ode to Billie Joe' - Why did Billie Joe kill himself?

Bobbie Gentry's 1967 opus "Ode To Billie Joe" is the intriguing tale of a boy who killed himself by jumping off a bridge. Wordy as it is, this song leaves us a big unanswered question — why Billie jumped off that bridge in the first place — that Gentry isn't keen to discuss.

A notoriously private person, Gentry typically avoids discussing anything with anyone, including her song. When she does, she offers either no information or conflicting ideas. The 1976 movie Ode To Billie Joe attempted to explain what happened, but the screenwriter's quest to get the truth out of Gentry went nowhere. He claims he asked her about the meaning of the song and that she replied, "I made it up. I don't know what it means." When asked if she knew why Billie killed himself, she simply said, "I have no idea." So the screenwriter made up some malarkey about Billie kissing a man dressed as a woman and feeling bad about it. It's better than nothing, right?
Read more...


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