The Emerald Coast is the unofficial name for the Florida panhandle, stretching 100 miles from the Panama City area to the state line. Some Coastal Alabama towns embrace the name as well. The term refers to the area’s emerald-green waters. According to the Daily News, the name was coined by a junior high school student during the 1980s during a competition to create a new slogan for the area. He won $50.
While walking around the Flora-Bama, I heard one of the musicians begin playing "Ode to Billie Joe." Though I probably haven't heard this song in at least 20 years, I immediately recognized it from when my older sister used to sing it.
The song is a Southern Gothic story about the singer and a boy named Billy Joe McAllister. I never understood what the two were throwing off the bridge or why Billie Joe jumped, but now I understand that that is one of the main discussions surrounding this song.
The song was written and recorded in 1967 by Bobbie Gentry, from Chickasaw County, Mississippi. The single was a number-one hit in the United States, and became a big international seller. The recording of "Ode to Billie Joe" generated eight Grammy nominations, resulting in three wins for Gentry. Rolling Stone later went on to rank the song #47 on its list of the 100 greatest country songs of all time in June 2014.
(See below to read more about Bobbie today)
Posts are a combination of my own research, visits, and conversations, plus various information found around the web. I try to provide sources, but if you have specific questions, feel free to ask!