Bobbie Gentry’s Final Performance Caught On Tape
Getty Images / Michael Putland
Truly an icon in her heyday, this country music superstar completely vanished from the spotlight after becoming one of the most recognized musicians in the industry.
And her very last public performance has surfaced online almost 40 years after she disappeared…
Bobbie Gentry, born Roberta Lee Streeter, was just 23 years old when her timeless ballad, “Ode To Billie Joe,” hit the charts and took off like wildfire, selling more than three million copies and topping the country, pop, rock, and easy listening charts.
However, in a flash that was as quick as her rise to fame, Gentry would disappear from the face of the earth after a series of inexplicable events – never to be seen publicly again. Almost as mysterious as the unnamed item Billie Joe McAllister threw off the Tallahatchie Bridge before taking his own life, Bobbie Gentry would leave the world of fame and fortune for another life that nobody knew about.
In 1967, her multiple Grammy-winning song “Ode To Billie Joe,” was issued to the charts – not as an overproduced single with a lot of fanfare, but using the original demo recording Gentry submitted along with an added string section.
Gentry would go on to find great success from her music, with popular duets alongside Glen Campbell, songwriting wins with Reba McEntire’s cover of “Fancy,” and she became the first woman to ever host a variety show on the BBC.
During the latter section of her nearly two decades in the public eye, Gentry spent a majority of it in Las Vegas exploring her own creativity in new depths. She crafted glamorous, glitzy, and fabulous stage shows that were lauded by critics for their striking set design. Additionally, she has been credited with designing a majority of the wild costumes and the impressive dance choreography used in those over-the-top shows.
Less than 20 years after her smash breakthrough into the world of entertainment, Bobbie Gentry performed a career-first…and last. Set to take the stage with Mac Davis during a 1983 concert, Gentry canceled the show abruptly – something she had never done before. After that canceled performance, Gentry was spotted a handful of times at industry events, and then utterly vanished without a trace, withdrawing from the public eye to lead a secret, private life.
Before she disappeared without a trace, Gentry had delivered her final performance – which, at the time, nobody knew would be her last…
She was part of a group of celebrity guests who all took part in a Mother’s Day celebration hosted by Bob Hope. Titled The All-Star Salute to Mother’s Day, Bobbie Gentry performed “Mama, a Rainbow” for her mother who was seated in the audience. The song is from the 1970 Broadway musical Minnie’s Boys.
In the decades since her disappearance, it has been hard to find a copy of this specific performance…but one YouTube account uploaded a very rough-looking recording of the performance for all of Gentry’s fans to enjoy.
See the full video below of Bobbie Gentry’s final performance. It would be one of the last times she was ever seen in public again…