Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

Help support this site! Consider clicking an ad from time to time. Thanks!


Harper Valley P.T.A.

First recorded (as “Mama Socked It to the Harper Valley PTA”) by Margie Singleton (1968).
Also recorded by Billie Jo Spears (1968).
Hit version by Jeannie C. Riley (US #1/C&W #1/CAN #1 1968).

From the wiki: “‘Harper Valley P.T.A.’ was written by Tom T. Hall who reportedly first offered the song to Skeeter Davis (‘End of the World’, 1962), who declined. The story goes that Hall, after driving past a school called Harpeth Valley Elementary School in Bellevue, Tennessee, noted the name and commenced writing ‘Harper Valley P.T.A.’ about a fictional confrontation between a young widow, Stella Johnson, and the local PTA who objected to her manner of dress, social drinking, and general friendliness with town’s men folk.

“On, however, Hall recalls the song being based on a true event: ‘I was just hanging around downtown when I was about nine years old and heard the story and got to know this lady. I was fascinated by her grit. To see this very insignificant, socially disenfranchised lady – a single mother – who was willing to march down to the local aristocracy and read them the riot act so to speak, was fascinating.’

“Jeannie C. Riley was working as a secretary for worked as a secretary for Passkey Music in Nashville while recording demos on the side. Her career was stagnant until former Mercury Records producer Shelby Singleton received a demo tape of Riley’s voice. Singleton’s fledgling label Plantation Records was starting to enjoy success. Seeing potential in ‘Harper Valley P.T.A.’, Singleton worked with Riley to record it. The record quickly became one of the best-known country music songs of all time. Riley was the first woman to hold the #1 spot on the pop and country charts with the same song, a feat not duplicated again until Dolly Parton’s ‘9 to 5’ in 1981.

“Riley’s recording of the song won her a Grammy for the Best Country Vocal Performance (Female). Her recording was also nominated for ‘Record of the Year’ and ‘Song of the Year'” in the Grammy pop field.”

Billie Jo Spears, “Harper Valley P.T.A.” (1968):

Jeannie C. Riley,”Harper Valley P.T.A.” (1968):

Comments are closed.