Son of a Preacher Man

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"Son of a Preacher Man"
Dusty springfield-son-of-a preacher man s 2.jpg
Single by Dusty Springfield
from the album Dusty in Memphis
B-side"Just a Little Lovin'"
ReleasedNovember 8, 1968
RecordedAmerican Studios, Memphis, Tennessee: September 1968
GenreBlue-eyed soul, R&B
LabelAtlantic (US), Philips (UK, Canada)
Songwriter(s)John Hurley, Ronnie Wilkins
Producer(s)Jerry Wexler, Arif Mardin, Jeff Barry, Tom Dowd
Dusty Springfield singles chronology
"Don't Forget About Me"
"Son of a Preacher Man"
"Willie & Laura Mae Jones"
Audio sample

"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 number 10 in the United States and number nine 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 1995 a re-release reached number one in Iceland.


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. Recalling that Franklin's father was a gospel preacher, as was Wilkins's grandfather, they came up with "Son of a Preacher Man". Wexler liked the song, and recorded it with Franklin, though he later decided that it did not fit well with her other songs, and passed the song on to Dusty Springfield for her album Dusty in Memphis.[1]

The song was also recorded by Franklin's older sister, Erma, and included on her 1969 Brunswick album Soul Sister. Not until after hearing Springfield's version did Aretha Franklin reconsider, ultimately including the song on her 1970 album, This Girl's in Love with You; this version charted only as the B-side of her hit single "Call Me".


The writers of Rolling Stone magazine placed Dusty Springfield's recording at number 77 among The 100 Best Singles of the Last 25 Years in 1987. The record was placed at number 43 among the Greatest Singles of All Time, by the writers of New Musical Express in 2002, and in 2004, the song was on the Rolling Stone list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[2]

In 1994, the song was featured in a scene of the film Pulp Fiction [3] "Son of a Preacher Man" helped to sell over two million units of the films soundtrack[4] and to help it reach number six on the charts according to SoundScan.[5] 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.[6][7] Wilkinson then released an album in 2002 featuring the song as its title track, mixed with original songs of her own and other Dusty cover versions.[8]

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.[9] Later in the same episode, Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) describes the bizarre scene to his fiancée, Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer), saying that the song is about "losing your virginity next to a church."

Samples from "Son of a Preacher Man" were used on Cypress Hill's "Hits from the Bong" on their album Black Sunday. The song is also featured in the 2016 video game Mafia III.[10]

Charts and certifications[edit]


Chart (1968–1969) Peak
Australian Go-Set[11] 6
Ö3 Austria Top 40[12] 10
Belgian BRT Top 30[13] 23
Dutch Single Top 100[14] 4
Dutch Top 40[15] 6
French SNEP Chart[16] 115
German Media Control[17] 38
Malaysian Singles Chart[18] 2
New Zealand Singles Chart[19] 7
Singapore Singles Charts[20] 5
Swiss Singles Top 75[21] 3
UK Singles Chart[22] 9
US Billboard Hot 100[23] 10
Chart (1995) Peak
Icelandic Singles Chart[24] 1


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Italy (FIMI)[25] Gold 25,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[26] Platinum 600,000double-dagger

double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Other recorded versions[edit]

  • 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"[27] which entered the Svensktoppen.[28] In 2012, Pugh Rogefeldt recorded a variation of this version entitled "Fröken i våran klass" for the TV show Så mycket bättre.
  • 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.
  • Canadian country music band Farmer's Daughter took an upbeat version of the song to #35 on the RPM Country Tracks charts in 1995.[29]
  • Australian-born country singer Sherrié Austin also released a version that reached #46 on the U.S. Billboard country charts in 2004.[30]
  • Tom Goss made a gay-themed version of the song in 2015 telling the story of two gay teens struggling to understand their sexuality and feelings for one another while operating within the confines of an evangelical church.[31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "I Hate Country Music, But Not Country Songs - The Nashville work of Hurley, Putman & Wilkins", Retrieved 14 August 2017
  2. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
  3. ^ Billboard; January, 28, 1995, Vol. 107 Issue 4, p. 62
  4. ^ Billboard, 00062510, 4/20/96, Vol. 108, Issue 16
  5. ^ Christian Science Monitor, 08827729, 9/8/97, Vol. 89, Issue 198
  6. ^ "Stars In Their Eyes 2002". YouTube. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  7. ^ "PERFECT: Emma's Version Of Dusty". The Daily Mirror. 30 June 2001.
  8. ^ "Record Deal For 'Dusty'". The Sun. 20 July 2001.
  9. ^ "The Office". Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  10. ^ Makuch, Eddie. "Mafia 3's Excellent Soundtrack Revealed, Contains These 100-Plus Songs". Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  11. ^ " - Forum - CHART POSITIONS PRE 1989 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  12. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Dusty Springfield - Son-Of-A Preacher Man". Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  13. ^ "Dusty Springfield - Son-Of-A Preacher Man". Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  14. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Dusty Springfield - Son-Of-A Preacher Man". Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  15. ^ Top 40, Stichting Nederlandse. "Dusty Springfield - Son-Of-A Preacher Man". Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  16. ^ " - Dusty Springfield - Son-Of-A Preacher Man". Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  17. ^ " - Dusty Springfield - Son-Of-A Preacher Man". Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  18. ^ "Billboard Magazine, March 15 1969". Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  19. ^ "Billboard Magazine, April 12, 1969". Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  20. ^ "Billboard Magazine, May 3 1969". Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  21. ^ "Dusty Springfield - Son-Of-A Preacher Man -". Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  22. ^ Lazell, Barry (1989). Rock Movers & Shakers. Billboard Books.
  23. ^ Miles, Barry. The British Invasion. Sterling. p. 98.
  24. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (4.2 '95 – 10.2 '95)". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 4 February 1995. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  25. ^ "Italian single certifications – Dusty Springfield – Son of a Preacher Man" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 25 November 2019. Select "2019" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Son of a Preacher Man" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli online" under "Sezione".
  26. ^ "British single certifications – Dusty Springfield – Son of a Preacher Man". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 3 January 2020. Select singles in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Son of a Preacher Man in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  27. ^ "Svensk mediedatabas". Retrieved 11 May 2011.
  28. ^ "Svensktoppen". 1969. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
  29. ^ "RPM Country Tracks". RPM. 10 April 1995. Retrieved 3 March 2010.
  30. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 36. ISBN 0-89820-177-2.
  31. ^ 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.

External links[edit]