Mississippi group honors fictional man in ‘Ode to Billy Joe’

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GREENWOOD, Miss. (AP) — Some Mississippi residents are honoring the memory of the fictional Billy Joe McAllister where — as the 1967 hit song had it — he ended his life when he jumped off the Tallahatchie bridge. “Ode to Billy Joe” was written and recorded by Bobbie Gentry, who lived part of her life in Greenwood. The Greenwood Commonwealth reports that people held a ceremony Thursday to talk about Billy Joe as if they knew him. The group included Republican U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker. The group unveiled a tombstone with Billy Joe McAllister’s name. It sits next to the Tallahatchie River. 

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