Jeannie C. Riley – Harper Valley PTA

First Hit #1: September 21, 1968

I’m not sure when it was that entertainment began to distrust suburbia, but it was clearly sometime before 1968, since Harper Valley PTA is all about how under a freshly polished exterior – in this case, a Parent-Teacher Association which disapproves of short skirts, but privately likes adultery and drinking – there’s some depravity. It’s a joke that’s begun to wear thin as it becomes really played out in entertainment, though I suppose at the time it wasn’t that common to be in a popular song, and in this case it’s kind of funny to have the characters have their comeuppance. I honestly can’t say it’s aged that well, and the message has been pummeled into the ground – especially by shows like Desperate Housewives – but I can certainly understand it being popular in the context of the time. It’s fun, and Riley has fun with it, so it does its job.

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