Son of a Preacher Man
|"Son of a Preacher Man"|
|Single by Dusty Springfield|
|from the album Dusty in Memphis|
|B-side||"Just a Little Lovin'"|
|Released||November 8, 1968|
|Recorded||American Studios, Memphis, Tennessee: September 1968|
|Genre||Blue-eyed soul, R&B|
|Label||Atlantic (US), Philips (UK, Canada)|
|Songwriter(s)||John Hurley, Ronnie Wilkins|
|Producer(s)||Jerry Wexler, Arif Mardin, Jeff Barry, Tom Dowd|
|Dusty Springfield singles chronology|
"Son of a Preacher Man" is a song written and composed by American songwriters John Hurley and Ronnie Wilkins and recorded by British singer Dusty Springfield in September 1968 for the album Dusty in Memphis.
Springfield's version was produced by Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd, and Arif Mardin for her first album for the Atlantic Records label and became an international hit reaching #10 in the United States and #9 in her native United Kingdom when it was released in late 1968. The album Dusty in Memphis was released in stereo, though its singles were remixed and released in mono. "Son of a Preacher Man" was to be the last Top Ten chart hit for Springfield for almost 20 years, until she teamed up with Pet Shop Boys for the single "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" in 1987.
In 1967, while working at Muscle Shoals, Alabama, songwriters John Hurley and Ronnie Wilkins, who had recently had a hit with "Love of the Common People", were asked by Jerry Wexler to write a song for Aretha Franklin. Remembering the fact that Franklin's father was a preacher, as Wilkins's grandfather had been, Hurley and Wilkins quickly came up with "Son of a Preacher Man". Wexler liked the song and recorded it with Aretha Franklin, but then decided that it did not fit with her other songs and passed the song on to Dusty Springfield for her album Dusty in Memphis.
The song was recorded by Franklin's older sister Erma, who included it on her 1969 Brunswick album Soul Sister. Not till after hearing Springfield's version did Franklin reconsider; when she did release the song herself, including it on her 1970 album, This Girl's in Love with You, her version charted only as a less popular a-side of the b-side hit single "Call Me".
The writers of Rolling Stone magazine placed Dusty Springfield's recording at #77 among The 100 Best Singles of the Last 25 Years in 1987. The record was placed at #43 of the Greatest Singles of All Time by the writers of New Musical Express in 2002. In 2004, the song made the Rolling Stone list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time at No. 240.
In 1994, the song was featured in a scene of the film Pulp Fiction. The film's soundtrack reached #21 on the Billboard 200 and went platinum (100,000 units) in Canada alone. "Son of a Preacher Man" helped to sell over two million units of the album and to help it reach number six on the charts according to SoundScan. Quentin Tarantino has been quoted, on the "Collectors Edition" DVD of Pulp Fiction, as saying that he probably would not have filmed the scene in which the song is featured had he not been able to use it.
In 2001, Emma Wilkinson's UK television performance of Son Of A Preacher Man won the Grand Final of the talent show Stars In Their Eyes garnering the most votes from 15 million television viewers. Wilkinson then released an album in 2002 featuring the song as it's title track, mixed with original songs of her own and other Dusty cover versions.
The song is also featured in the film Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, during scenes depicting Kenneth Lay, ex-Enron CEO and son of a Baptist minister, and on an episode of Hindsight. In the 2008 television episode of the American series The Office titled "Baby Shower", Jan Levinson, played by Melora Hardin, is filmed singing "Son of a Preacher Man" as a lullaby to her newborn daughter Astrid. Later in the same episode, Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) describes the bizarre scene to his fiancée, Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer), noting that the song is about "losing your virginity next to a church."
Charts and certifications
|Ö3 Austria Top 40||10|
|Belgian BRT Top 30||23|
|Dutch Single Top 100||4|
|Dutch Top 40||6|
|French SNEP Chart||115|
|German Media Control||38|
|Malaysian Singles Chart||2|
|New Zealand Singles Chart||7|
|Singapore Singles Charts||5|
|Swiss Singles Top 75||3|
|UK Singles Chart||9|
|US Billboard Hot 100||10|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||500,000|
*sales figures based on certification alone
Other recorded versions
- Nancy Sinatra released her version on her 1969 album Nancy.
- Country singer Peggy Little released a cover version in 1969 that peaked at #40 on the Billboard country charts.
- Sylvia Vrethammar had a 1969 single release of "Son of a Preacher Man" rendered in Swedish as "En lärling på våran gård" which entered the Svensktoppen. In 2012, Pugh Rogefeldt recorded a variation of this version entitled "Fröken i våran klass" for the TV show Så mycket bättre.
- French singer Nicoletta recorded a French rendering entitled "Le Grand Amour" for her 1969 EP Quand On A Que L'Amour.
- Bobbie Gentry recorded her version for her 1969 album Touch 'Em with Love (Capitol Records).
- Nancy Wilson entitled her 1969 album Son of a Preacher Man and featured the song as the opening track.
- Czech vocalist Věra Špinarová (cs) had a 1969 single release with a cover of the original English-language version.
- A German version entitled "Song Vom Hilfsarbeiter" was released as a single by German singer Lisa Fitz in 1969.
- Soul legend Aretha Franklin included a version on her 1970 album, This Girl's in Love with You. A new recording of the song, featuring the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, appears on Franklin's 2017 album A Brand New Me, her final album before her death in August 2018.
- A German version entitled "Der Junge von Nebenan" was recorded by German singer Katja Ebstein for her second album Mein Leben ist wie ein Lied in 1970.
- American R&B/soul trio Honey Cone recorded the song for their 1970 debut album Take Me with You.
- The Finnish rendering "Salapoliisin Tytär " was recorded by Jouko Ja Kosti (fi) for their 1971 self-titled album.
- Liza Minnelli performed the song as part of her 1972 filmed concert Liza with a Z.
- Tanya Tucker recorded a version in 1975 on her album Tanya Tucker.
- Other early versions of the song appeared on albums by Skeeter Davis, Erma Franklin, Jan Howard, Ketty Lester, Liza Minnelli, Irene Reid, Mavis Staples, Tina Turner, and Judy Mowatt & The Gaylettes.
- There is a version in Swiss German called "där Sohn vom Pfarrär" recorded in 1994 by Sina from Switzerland.
- Canadian country music band Farmer's Daughter took an upbeat version of the song to #35 on the RPM Country Tracks charts in 1995.
- Dolly Parton recorded the song in 1996 during sessions for her Treasures album, though the song was ultimately not included on the final album, and remained unreleased. Parton has performed the song live a few times on television shows, and included it in her set list during her 2011 Better Day World Tour
- A live version by Joan Osborne appears on her 1996 album Early Recordings.
- Eva Cassidy released her version on her 1996 album Live at Blues Alley.
- Cam Clarke recorded the song in 1999, giving it a gay interpretation.
- Hank Marvin included the song on his 2000 album Marvin at the Movies.
- Australian-born country singer Sherrié Austin also released a version that reached #46 on the U.S. Billboard country charts in 2004.
- Canadian singer Jann Arden recorded the song on her 2007 album Uncover Me.
- Girlyman's queered version, long featured in their live shows, was released on 2008's Somewhere Different Now.
- The song has also been recorded by Katey Sagal for an episode of the television show Sons of Anarchy.
- Hollie Cavanagh performed and recorded a version of the song on Season 11 of American Idol in 2012. She received general praise for her rendition and progressed to the Top 6.
- Tom Goss made a gay-themed version of the song in 2015 telling the story of two young, gay teens struggling to understand their sexuality and feelings for one another while operating within the confines of an evangelical church.
- The song has also been recorded by Hanne Boel (album Black Wolf/ 1988), Phoebe Cates (album Paradise/ 1982), Sarah Connor (album Soulicious / 2007), Barbara Dex (album Strong/ 1998), Jessica Simpson (performed on the Early Show), Joss Stone, and Jackie Thomas (album Jackie Thomas/ 2013).
- "I Hate Country Music, But Not Country Songs - The Nashville work of Hurley, Putman & Wilkins", Soul-source.co.uk. Retrieved 14 August 2017
- "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". RollingStone.com. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
- Billboard; 1/28/95, Vol. 107 Issue 4, p62, 1/2p
- Billboard, 00062510, 4/20/96, Vol. 108, Issue 16
- Christian Science Monitor, 08827729, 9/8/97, Vol. 89, Issue 198
- "Stars In Their Eyes 2002". Youtube. ITV. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
- "PERFECT: Emma's Version Of Dusty". The Daily Mirror. 30 June 2001.
- "Record Deal For 'Dusty'". The Sun. 20 July 2001.
- The Office , Season 5 Episode 3, aired Thursday, October 16. 2008
- Makuch, Eddie. "Mafia 3's Excellent Soundtrack Revealed, Contains These 100-Plus Songs". Gamespot. Gamespot. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
- http://australian-charts.com/forum.asp?todo=viewthread&search=Dusty+Springfield&id=21533&pages=4#652042 "Australian charts"
- Hung, Steffen. "Dusty Springfield - Son-Of-A Preacher Man". hitparade.ch.
- Top 40, Stichting Nederlandse. "Dusty Springfield - Son-Of-A Preacher Man". Top40.nl.
- "germancharts.de - Dusty Springfield - Son-Of-A Preacher Man". germancharts.de.
- "Billboard Magazine, March 15 1969". Retrieved June 21, 2018.
- "Billboard Magazine, April 12, 1969". Retrieved June 21, 2018.
- "Billboard Magazine, May 3 1969". Retrieved June 21, 2018.
- "Dusty Springfield - Son-Of-A Preacher Man - hitparade.ch". hitparade.ch.
- Lazell, Barry (1989). Rock Movers & Shakers. Billboard Books.
- Miles, Barry. The British Invasion. Sterling. p. 98.
- "British single certifications – Dusty Springfield – Son of a Preacher Man". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Son of a Preacher Man in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
- "Svensk mediedatabas". Retrieved 11 May 2011.
- "Svensktoppen". 1969. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
- "RPM Country Tracks". RPM. 10 April 1995. Retrieved 3 March 2010.
- Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 36. ISBN 0-89820-177-2.
- Nichols, James Michael (14 March 2016). "'Son Of A Preacher Man' Gets Reimagined As Heartbreaking Gay Romance - A powerful, somber take on the Dusty Springfield classic". Huffington Post, Queer Voices. Retrieved 14 April 2016.