Harper Valley P.T.A.

Harper Valley P.T.A. is the title of a composed by Tom T. Hall "Story Songs", which, as amended by Jeannie C. Riley was one of the biggest crossover success in the pop and country music history in 1968.


Country singer Margie Singleton was the divorced wife of record producer Shelby Singleton and already published since 1957 Country plates. She asked the producer and composer Tom T. Hall to listen to a song, which should be similar to Ode to Billy Joe. As Hall at the elementary school Harpeth Valley Elementary School in Bellevue, Tennessee passed by, he saw the name and wrote in July 1968, the song about a fictional encounter between a lone widow named Stella Johnson and the parents' association of their child's school, the way they deal with clothing, alcohol and men of the place faulted. Fred Bronson, according to is an actual confrontation between the " morally correct " PTA and an " eye-catching " mother. The acronym stands for Parent Teacher Association to help improve school conditions and the communication between parents and teachers, especially in small towns in the United States.

Margie Singleton recorded the song in early July 1968 in Nashville as a single (Ashley # 5000) on. He then appeared on the LP Margie Singleton's Harper Valley PTA ( Pickwick SPC 3133 ), published in August 1968.

Successful cover version

Shelby Singleton learned from the single ex-wife and secured the rights for Riley's cover version, which was to appear on the " Little Darlin ' " label by Aubrey Mayhew. Singleton booked for July 26, 1968 in the Columbia Recording Studios in Nashville recording a date for Riley and another singer named Royce Clark; Singleton was not sure whether the vocal abilities of Riley would be sufficient. It emerged Harper Valley P.T.A. / Yesterday and All Day Long Today, produced by Shelby Singleton and sung by Jeannie C. Riley. The befriended producer Jerry Kennedy played Dobro during the sparsely instrumented recording session. The day after Singleton went with the master tape for influential radio DJ Ralph Emery, WSM Nashville, who played the A-side at the request of listeners multiple times.

The third single of the young label the titles were marketed in August 1968 as Plantation # PL3. Jeannie C. Riley believed at that time yet, the song is not enough to establish "country" as a country singer. Just two weeks after publication were sold 1.75 million copies in the U.S. alone, there were a total of four million worldwide over six million units. The song came first on 24 August 1968 in the pop charts, where it remained topped for a week. On 31 August 1968, he also came to the country charts that listed him for three weeks on the first place. He was the most successful crossover hit that time. Riley was also the first woman to be led to the same song, both the hit parade of the country as well as pop music. This was repeated in 1981 with the song Dolly Parton 9 to 5. The song introduced a BMI Award. In addition, the title was awarded a Grammy. After the success of Harper Valley P.T.A. Hall wrote in November 1968, a two-part follow-up song, The Continuing Story of Harper Valley PTA, which was recorded by country singer Dee Mullins.

Riley was influenced by this song, because all they wanted to see in this self-conscious image that described the song and she refused. The sudden fame had an impact on their marriage, and they divorced in 1970 by Mickey Riley. Jeannie C. Riley named their 1980 published autobiography From Harper Valley to the Mountain Top also.


The text follows the Bible quote " Judge not, that you be not judged " (Matthew 7, 1). The daughter of lone widow Stella Johnson visited the junior high ( middle school ) in Harper Valley, where conservative behavior standards apply. The daughter brings one written by the parent council letter home in which the mother is accused of wearing too short skirts and getting drunk leave with strange men.

The mother then used a meeting with parents to turn to denounce other parents. Bobby Taylor did it seven times asked for an appointment and his wife need a lot of ice when her husband is gone; Mr. Baker could certainly explain why his secretary had to leave the place; Widow Jones should keep their curtains closed at all times better; Mr. Harper could not be there now, because he was yesterday too long in the pub and Shirley Thompson smell after Gin. In the end, then comes the daughter to speak: " ... that was the day when my mom showed it to the school " - backed with a final crescendo. The song also quotes the then popular soap opera Peyton Place, have been disclosed in the related secrets.

Cover versions and adaptations

Harper Valley P.T.A. was often gecovert, including Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Billie Jo Spears, Martina McBride, Dottie West and Billy Ray Cyrus.

The piece was also the inspiration for a TV movie, NBC aired on February 24, 1980. On January 16, 1981, the premiere was held for the same movie. In both works, Barbara Eden played the main character of the song, Stella Johnson.