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Son of a Preacher Man

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"Son of a Preacher Man"
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
LabelAtlantic (US)
Philips (international)
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. The single, released in late 1968 and credited as "Son-of-a Preacher Man" on UK, US and other releases, became an international hit, reaching no. 9 in the UK singles chart and no. 10 on Billboard's Hot 100 in January 1969. The album Dusty in Memphis was released in stereo, though its singles were remixed and released in mono.

"Son of a Preacher Man" was Springfield's last Top 30 hit until 1987, when her collaboration with UK synthpop duo the Pet Shop Boys yielded the huge hit "What Have I Done to Deserve This?". "Son of a Preacher Man" found a new audience when it was included on the soundtrack of Quentin Tarantino's 1994 film Pulp Fiction; a re-release of the single reached number one in Iceland in 1995.


In 1968, songwriters John Hurley and Ronnie Wilkins (who had recently had a hit with "Love of the Common People") wrote the song with Aretha Franklin in mind, according to a 2009 interview with Wilkins. Atlantic Records producer and co-owner Jerry Wexler, who was recording Dusty Springfield's first Atlantic album in Memphis at the time, liked the song and suggested it to Springfield for the Dusty in Memphis album.[3]

Following Springfield's top-10 single release, the song was recorded in 1969 by Franklin for her This Girl's in Love with You album. Franklin's version also appeared as the B-side of her hit single "Call Me". Franklin's older sister Erma Franklin also recorded the song and included it on her 1969 Brunswick album Soul Sister.

Reception and legacy[edit]

Cash Box said that Springfield "shows a new soul" and that the song is "brim-full of the special southern-combo sound and a vocal strongly influenced by Aretha [Franklin]."[4]

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".[5]

In 1994, the song was featured in a scene of the film Pulp Fiction.[6] "Son of a Preacher Man" helped to sell more than two million units of the film's soundtrack[7] and to help it reach number six on the charts, according to SoundScan.[8] 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.[9][10]

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.[11]


Chart (1968–1969) Peak
Australian Go-Set[12] 6
Ö3 Austria Top 40[13] 10
Belgian BRT Top 30[14] 23
Canada RPM Magazine[15] 11
Dutch Single Top 100[16] 4
Dutch Top 40[17] 6
French SNEP Chart[18] 115
German Media Control[19] 38
Irish Singles Charts[20] 11
Malaysian Singles Chart (Radio Malaysia)[21] 2
New Zealand Singles Chart[22] 7
Singapore Singles Charts (Radio Singapore)[23] 1
Swiss Singles Top 75[24] 3
UK Singles Chart[25] 9
US Billboard Hot 100[26] 10
Chart (1995) Peak
Icelandic Singles Chart[27] 1


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[28] Gold 45,000
Italy (FIMI)[29] Gold 25,000
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[30] Platinum 60,000
United Kingdom (BPI)[31] 2× Platinum 1,200,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ William, Ruhlmann. Dusty Springfield - The Very Best of Dusty Springfield (1998) Review at AllMusic. Retrieved March 18, 2024.
  2. ^ a b Stylus Staff (March 22, 2004). "Top 101–200 Favourite Albums Ever". Stylus Magazine. Archived from the original on February 16, 2022. Retrieved April 27, 2023. ...Dusty managed to unfurl her golden pipes and set them loose in the mildly perverse Country/Soul amble of "Son of a Preacher Man"...
  3. ^ Jaenicke, Michael (15 January 2009). "Grandson of a preacher man". The Robesonian. Lumberton, North Carolina: The Robesonian (daily newspaper). Retrieved 19 December 2020.
  4. ^ "CashBox Record Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. November 16, 1968. p. 30. Retrieved 2022-01-12.
  5. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on December 11, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
  6. ^ Billboard; January 28, 1995, Vol. 107 Issue 4, p. 62
  7. ^ Billboard, 00062510, 4/20/96, Vol. 108, Issue 16
  8. ^ Christian Science Monitor, 08827729, 9/8/97, Vol. 89, Issue 198
  9. ^ "Stars In Their Eyes 2002". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-13. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  10. ^ "PERFECT: Emma's Version Of Dusty". Daily Mirror. 30 June 2001.
  11. ^ Makuch, Eddie. "Mafia 3's Excellent Soundtrack Revealed, Contains These 100-Plus Songs". Gamespot.com. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  12. ^ "australian-charts.com - Forum - CHART POSITIONS PRE 1989 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Australian-charts.com. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  13. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Dusty Springfield - Son-Of-A Preacher Man". Austriancharts.at. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  14. ^ "Dusty Springfield - Son-Of-A Preacher Man". Ultratop.be. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  15. ^ "RPM Top 100 Singles - January 20, 1969" (PDF).
  16. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Dusty Springfield - Son-Of-A Preacher Man". Hitparade.ch. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  17. ^ Top 40, Stichting Nederlandse. "Dusty Springfield - Son-Of-A Preacher Man". Top40.nl. Retrieved 17 February 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  18. ^ "lescharts.com - Dusty Springfield - Son-Of-A Preacher Man". Lescharts.com. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  19. ^ "germancharts.de - Dusty Springfield - Son-Of-A Preacher Man". Germancharts.de. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  20. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". irishcharts.ie. Retrieved 30 November 2022.
  21. ^ "Billboard Magazine, March 15 1969". 15 March 1969. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  22. ^ "Billboard Magazine, April 12, 1969". 12 April 1969. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  23. ^ "Billboard Magazine, May 3 1969". 12 April 1969. p. 71. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  24. ^ "Dusty Springfield - Son-Of-A Preacher Man - hitparade.ch". Hitparade.ch. Retrieved 17 February 2020.
  25. ^ Lazell, Barry (1989). Rock Movers & Shakers. Billboard Books.
  26. ^ Miles, Barry. The British Invasion. Sterling. p. 98.
  27. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (4.2 '95 – 10.2 '95)". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). 4 February 1995. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  28. ^ "Danish single certifications – Dusty Springfield – Son of a Preacher Man". IFPI Danmark. Retrieved 8 September 2023.
  29. ^ "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" under "Sezione".
  30. ^ "Dusty Springfield - Son of a Preacher Man". El portal de Música. Productores de Música de España. Retrieved 2 February 2024.
  31. ^ "British single certifications – Dusty Springfield – Son of a Preacher Man". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 7 July 2023.

External links[edit]