Story of the Song: Son of a Preacher Man by Dusty Springfield

From The Independent archive: Robert Webb on ‘Son of a Preacher Man’ by Dusty Springfield

Friday 22 October 2021 21:30
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<p>Dusty recorded the song in  the R&B capital – Memphis – in the summer of 1968 </p>

Dusty recorded the song in the R&B capital – Memphis – in the summer of 1968

When Atlantic Records boss Ahmet Ertegun heard Dusty Springfield’s gutsy rendition of a Gerry Goffin and Carole King number, “Some of Your Lovin’”, he was reminded of another Atlantic signing, Aretha Franklin. Ertegun detected an R&B voice straining to be heard and picked up the phone, with the aim of recording Dusty in the R&B capital – Memphis.

“I figured it would be Aretha kind of songs, by these people I'd never heard of,” said Dusty. She sat down with Atlantic’s producer, Jerry Wexler, to focus on track selection. “I drove him mad,” she said. “I only picked two.”

The first they agreed on was the soul-deep “Son of a Preacher Man”, the tale of a girl who sneaks off with the preacher’s boy every time his dad comes around. It was written by John Hurley and Ronnie Wilkins, who had penned “Love of the Common People” for the Four Preps a year earlier.

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