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|
|Writer(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 recorded by Dusty Springfield in September 1968 and featured on the album Dusty in Memphis. It was written by John Hurley and Ronnie Wilkins. The rights to record "Son of a Preacher Man" were originally offered to Aretha Franklin, who turned it down. The song however was recorded by Aretha's elder sister Erma Franklin and was included on her 1969 Brunswick album Soul Sister. It was only upon hearing Springfield's version, a UK and American hit in 1968, that Aretha Franklin reconsidered and recorded the song herself including it on her 1970 album, This Girl's in Love with You, and it charted only as a less popular a-side of the b-side hit single "Call Me".
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 UK when 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 the artist for almost 20 years until she teamed up with Pet Shop Boys for the single "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" in 1987.
The writers of Rolling Stone magazine placed the release 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 #240.
Samples from "Son of a Preacher Man" were used on Cypress Hill's "Hits from the Bong" on their album Black Sunday in 1993 and on Adil Omar's "Known to Kick It" in 2008. In 1994 the song was featured in a scene of the film Pulp Fiction. In the movie, the song was a background for the scene of Mia Wallace (portrayed by Uma Thurman) making Vincent Vega (portrayed by John Travolta) wait on the intercom. The soundtrack reached No. 21 on the Billboard 200, and at the time, went platinum (100,000 units) in Canada alone. "Son of a Preacher Man" helped to sell over 2 million units of the album and to reach #6 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 done that scene had he not been able to use "Son of a Preacher Man". 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. In the 2008 television episode of the American series The Office entitled "Baby Shower", Jan Levinson, played by Melora Hardin, is filmed singing "Son of a Preacher Man" as a lullaby to her newborn daughter Astrid.
Other recorded versions
Country singer Peggy Little released a cover version in 1969 that peaked at #40 on the Billboard country charts.
Early cover versions of the song appeared on albums by Skeeter Davis, Erma Franklin, Bobbie Gentry, Jan Howard, Ketty Lester, Liza Minnelli, Irene Reid, Nancy Sinatra, Mavis Staples, Tina Turner, and Nancy Wilson. Also Czech vocalist Věra Špinarová (cs) had a 1969 single release with a cover of the original English-language version. Tanya Tucker recorded a version in 1975 on her album Tanya Tucker.
The song has also been covered 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).
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. Nicoletta recorded a French rendering entitled "Le Grand Amour" for her 1969 EP Quand On A Que L'Amour. The Finnish rendering "Salapoliisin Tytär " was recorded by Jouko Ja Kosti (fi) for their 1971 self-titled album.
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.
Melissa Manchester has paid tribute to Dusty Springfield by performing the song live in recent years. Manchester is currently recording "Son of a Preacher Man" for an upcoming 2014 album called You Gotta Love The Life.
- "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
- The Office , Season 5 Episode 3, aired Thursday, October 16. 2008
- "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.
- "Svensk mediedatabas". Retrieved 11 May 2011.
- "Svensktoppen". 1969. Retrieved 11 May 2011.