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 (Canada)|
|Writer(s)||John Hurley, Ronnie Wilkins|
|Producer(s)||Jerry Wexler, Arif Mardin, Jeff Barry, Tom Dowd|
|Dusty Springfield singles chronology|
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 No.10 in the United States and No.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 song was originally offered to American Aretha Franklin, who turned it down. However, it 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 that Aretha Franklin reconsidered and recorded 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 the release at No.77 among The 100 Best Singles of the Last 25 Years in 1987. The record was placed at No.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 No. 21 on the Billboard 200 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.
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 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. Later in the episode Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) describes the bizarre scene to his fiance Pam Beesley (Jenna Fischer) noting the song is about "losing your virginity next to a church."
Melissa Manchester has paid tribute to Dusty Springfield by performing the song live in recent years.
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, Nancy Wilson, and Judy Mowatt & The Gaylettes. 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.
- Canadian country music band Farmer's Daughter took an upbeat version of the song to #35 on the RPM Country Tracks charts in 1995.
- A live version by Joan Osborne appears on her 1996 album Early Recordings.
- Cam Clarke recorded the song in 1999, giving it a gay interpretation.
- Australian-born country singer Sherrié Austin also released a cover version, taking it to #46 on the U.S. Billboard country charts in 2004.
- There is a version in Swiss German called "där Sohn vom Pfarrär" recorded in 1994 by Sina from Switzerland.
- The song has also been covered by Katey Sagal for an episode of the television show Sons of Anarchy.
- Hank Marvin covered the song on his 2000 album Marvin at the Movies.
- 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).
- R&B/soul trio The Honey Cone recorded a version for their 1970 album Take Me with You.
- 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.
- Canadian singer Jann Arden recorded the song on her 2007 album Uncover Me.
- Liza Minnelli covered the song as part of her 1972 filmed concert Liza with a Z.
- 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.
- 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
- 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 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.
- 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.