Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
RILEY, Jeanne C.
(b Jeanne Carolyn Stephenson, 19 Oct. '45, Anson TX) Country singer who made one of the biggest hits of all time. Sang in local talent shows; married childhood sweetheart Mickey Riley '64; encouraged by him she moved to Nashville '67, worked as secretary on Music Row, made demo tapes, signed with Shelby Singleton's Plantation Records: debut single of Tom T. Hall's mimimalist moving song essentially about class in the USA, 'Harper Valley P.T.A.' was no. 1 on country and pop charts, a worldwide hit. She was packaged with a sexy image (knee length boots, mini-skirt), won Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance '68, scored more hits incl. top tens 'The Girl Most Likely', 'There Never Was A Time', 'Country Girl', 'Oh Singer', 'Good Enough To Be Your Wife' '68--71, all reaching pop charts. Constant touring led to divorce '70; she became a born-again Christian '72, turned to gospel music, was reunited with Mickey. Moved to MGM '71, had minor hits; to Mercury '74 and left charts; briefly returned with 'The Best I've Ever Had' '76 on WB. Published autobiography From Harper Valley P.T.A. To The Mountain Top '77. Many albums out of print incl. Harper Valley P.T.A. '68 on Plantation, a set of songs about the people mentioned in the original hit. CDs Sings The Gospel on MCA, Here's Jeannie on Playback.