Spooner Oldham

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Spooner Oldham
Oldham in 2009 in Muscle Shoals, Alabama
Oldham in 2009 in Muscle Shoals, Alabama
Background information
Birth nameDewey Lindon Oldham, Jr.
Born (1943-06-14) June 14, 1943 (age 79)
Center Star, Alabama
United States
  • Keyboards
Years active1960s–present

Dewey Lindon "Spooner" Oldham (born June 14, 1943)[1][2] is an American songwriter and session musician. An organist, he recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, at FAME Studios as part of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section on such hit R&B songs as Percy Sledge's "When a Man Loves a Woman", Wilson Pickett's "Mustang Sally", and Aretha Franklin's "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)". As a songwriter, Oldham teamed with Dan Penn to write such hits as "Cry Like a Baby" (the Box Tops), "I'm Your Puppet" (James and Bobby Purify), and "A Woman Left Lonely" and "It Tears Me Up" (Percy Sledge).[3]


Oldham is a native of Center Star, Alabama, United States.[4] He was blinded in his right eye as a child; when reaching for a frying pan, he was hit in the eye by a spoon he knocked from a shelf. Schoolmates gave him the name "Spooner" as a result.[5]

Oldham started his career in music by playing piano in a Dixieland jazz band while at Lauderdale County High School.[6] He then attended classes at the University of North Alabama but turned instead to playing at FAME Studios.[7] He moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1967 and teamed with Penn at Chips Moman's American Studios.[8]

Oldham later moved to Los Angeles and has continued to be a sought-after backing musician, recording and performing with such artists as Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Delaney Bramlett, Willy DeVille, Joe Cocker, the Hacienda Brothers, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, the Everly Brothers, Bob Seger, Dickey Betts, Cat Power, J.J. Cale, Frank Black, and The Mountain Goats.[7]

Frequently a backing musician for Neil Young,[7] he played on Young's critically acclaimed 1992 album Harvest Moon. Oldham also appeared in the concert film Neil Young: Heart of Gold and backed Crosby Stills Nash & Young on their 2006 Freedom of Speech tour.[9]

In 1993, he joined a host of Memphis soul music veterans to record Arthur Alexander's comeback and un-intended final studio recording, the album Lonely Just Like Me.[10][11][12]

In 2007, Oldham toured with the Drive-By Truckers on their The Dirt Underneath tour. In 2008, Oldham played on Last Days at the Lodge, the third album released by folk/soul singer Amos Lee. In May 2011, Oldham backed Pegi Young on a six-show tour of California.


Oldham was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009 as a sideman. In 2014, he was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.[13]

Solo album[edit]

Pot Luck (Family Productions, 1972)[14]


With Arthur Alexander

  • 1962: You Better Move On (Dot Records)
  • 1993: Lonely Just Like Me (Elektra)

With Shelby Lynne

With Steve Cropper

  • Dedicated – A Salute to the 5 Royales (429 Records, 2011)

With Neil Young

With Billy Ray Cyrus

  • The SnakeDoctor Circus (BBR, 2019)

With Rita Coolidge

With Linda Ronstadt

With Wilson Pickett

With John Prine

With Jennifer Warnes

With Aretha Franklin

With Dan Penn

  • Nobody's Fool (Bell Records, 1973)
  • Do Right Man (Sire Records, 1994)
  • Moments From This Theatre (Proper American, 1999)[15]
  • Something About the Night (Dandy Records, 2016)

With Frank Black

With Jewel

With Bob Seger

With Jackson Browne

With Tony Joe White

With Sheryl Crow

  • Threads (Big Machine Records, 2019)

With J. J. Cale

With Amos Lee

With Josh Groban

With Maria Muldaur

  • Maria Muldaur (Reprise Records, 1973)
  • Waitress in a Donut Shop (Reprise Records, 1974)

With Bob Dylan

  • Saved (Columbia Records, 1980)

With Keith Richards

With Boz Scaggs

With Peter Parcek

  • Mississippi Suitcase (Lightnin' Records, 2020)[16]


  1. ^ "Spooner Oldham's Concert & Tour History | Concert Archives". Concertarchives.org. Retrieved 2 October 2021.
  2. ^ "spooner oldham". Light In The Attic Records. Retrieved 2 October 2021.
  3. ^ Kurutz, Steve. "Spooner Oldham Biography". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  4. ^ "Spooner Oldham". Encyclopedia of Alabama. Retrieved 2 October 2021.
  5. ^ "Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham - Old souls". Nodepression.com. January 2006.
  6. ^ https://www.al.com/birmingham-box-set/2013/08/post_30.html[bare URL]
  7. ^ a b c Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 918. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  8. ^ Hasted, Nick (5 November 1999). "Music: Good ol' boys in the hood". The Independent. Archived from the original on 2022-05-24.
  9. ^ "Spooner Oldham Biography". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  10. ^ "Arthur Alexander "Lonely Just Like Me"". Discogs.com. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  11. ^ "Arthur Alexander "Lonely Just Like Me - The Final Chapter"". Discogs.com. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  12. ^ "Arthur Alexander "Lonely Just Like Me"". Stereophile.com. 15 July 2017. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  13. ^ "6 slated for Alabama Music Hall of Fame". The Miami Herald. Associated Press. 28 February 2014.
  14. ^ "Spooner Oldham "Pot Luck"". Discogs.com. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  15. ^ "Dan Penn And Spooner Oldham - Moments From This Theatre". Discogs.com. Retrieved April 6, 2021.
  16. ^ Gunther, Marty. "Peter Parcek – Mississippi Suitcase | Album Review". Bluesblastmagazine.com. Retrieved April 5, 2021.

External links[edit]