Son of a Preacher Man

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"Son of a Preacher Man"
File: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'
Released November 8, 1968
Format 7"
Recorded American Studios, Memphis, Tennessee: September 1968
Genre Blue-eyed soul, R&B
Length 2:29
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
"Don't Forget About Me"
"Son of a Preacher Man"
"Willie & Laura Mae Jones"
Dusty in Memphis track listing
"So Much Love"
"Son of Preacher Man"
"I Don't Want to Hear It Anymore"
Audio sample
file info · help

"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 song was originally offered to 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, a UK and American hit in 1969, 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 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 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[1] 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, and at the time, went platinum (100,000 units) in Canada alone.[2] "Son of a Preacher Man" helped to sell over two million units of the album[3] and to help it reach number six on the charts according to SoundScan.[4] 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.[5]

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.

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 Gayletts. 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.[6]

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.[citation needed]

Australian-born country singer Sherrié Austin also released a cover version, taking it to #46 on the U.S. Billboard country charts in 2004.[7]

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"[8] which entered the Svensktoppen.[9] 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.

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.


  1. "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Retrieved 2008-11-05.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Billboard; 1/28/95, Vol. 107 Issue 4, p62, 1/2p
  3. Billboard, 00062510, 4/20/96, Vol. 108, Issue 16
  4. Christian Science Monitor, 08827729, 9/8/97, Vol. 89, Issue 198
  5. The Office [1], Season 5 Episode 3, aired Thursday, October 16. 2008
  6. "RPM Country Tracks". RPM. 10 April 1995. Retrieved 3 March 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 36. ISBN 0-89820-177-2. |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Svensk mediedatabas". Retrieved 11 May 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Svensktoppen". 1969. Retrieved 11 May 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links