Three Chords And The Truth: Essential Country Music Songs: “Harper Valley P.T.A.”- Jeannie C. Riley. The first hit by Jeannie C. Riley was her biggest hit and one of the biggest country hits of the late 1960’s. Written by Tom T. Hall- it was a country music #1 hit- and a crossover #1 on the pop charts also- it sold over 6 million copies She was the first woman to take a single to #1 on both the country and pop chart. No doubt it kept Tom T. Hall’s bus supplied with new tires for the rest of his career.
Margie Singleton a country singer asked Tom T. Hall who was just breaking into his career in Nashville at the time as a singer- songwriter- to write a song similar to Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode To Billie Joe” – Singleton recorded it in 1967- and Skeeter Davis also recorded it. Jeannie C. Riley was working as a secretary in Nashville at the time- and her recording of it of course is the one everyone remembers. She won a Grammy for Best Country Vocal performance by a female, and was nominated for Record of The Year and Song of The Year. The song has been covered over the years by a number of artists over the years- Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Lynn Anderson, Dottie West etc.