Monday, September 17, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Jeannie C. Riley

Artist:Jeannie C. Riley
Song:Harper Valley P.T.A.
Album:Harper Valley P.T.A.: The Very Best of Jeannie C. Riley

This mini soap opera was one of the biggest hits of 1968 and was a number one country and pop hit for Jeannie C. Riley. The problem was because the hit came at the beginning of her career, it was difficult to follow. It turned out to be her only big hit. But she had some country success and then later became a Christian singer. She was born Jeanne Carolyn Stephenson Oct. 19, 1945 in Stamford, TX which is near Abeline. As a teen, she married Mickey Riley and they had a daughter in 1966. They moved to Nashville and Jeannie worked as a secretary while recording demos. One of those demos landed in the hands of producer Shelby Singleton. He was a producer at Mercury Records but he was starting his own labels SSS International and Plantation Records. Harper Valley P.T.A. was written by legendary singer songwriter Tom T. Hall. After Skeeter Davis turned down the song, it was recorded by Jeannie C. Riley, Billie Jo Spears and Margie Singleton. Plantation rushed the release because Singleton wanted to beat the other two versions. Jeannie C. Riley became the first female singer to top the country and pop singles chart. This wouldn't happen again until Dolly Parton did it with 9 To 5 in 1981. Hall says he took the name from a real school in Tennessee but the song is based on childhood memories. Hall was known as an excellent storyteller. It was one of the biggest hits of 1968 and Jeannie won a Best Female Country Vocal Performance Grammy. It didn't hurt that Jeannie was young, attractive and wore mini skirts. Jeannie had a few more country hits but never came close to the success of Harper Valley P.T.A. You can get all her hits on this Collectables comp. Harper Valley P.T.A. was turned into a movie and then a TV show starring Barbara Eden in 1978. Jeannie C. Riley recorded for MGM, Mercury and Warner Bros. But by the late 70s, she had become a born again Christian and recorded gospel in the 80s. She continued to perform Harper Valley P.T.A. in her shows. In the 90s, she suffered from clinical depression and put on a lot of weight. She recovered from that and though she last recorded in 2000, Jeannie C. Riley still tours. Here's Jeannie C. Riley performing Harper Valley P.T.A. 1968.

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