Dusty Springfield – Son of a Preacher Man

This song never gets old to me. The song was released in 1968 and peaked at #10 in the Billboard 100, #9 in the Uk. The song was written by John Hurley and Ronnie Wilkins.

Dusty Springfield had such a smooth voice.

From Songfacts. 

This was written by John Hurley and Ronnie Wilkins. Dusty’s version is the most popular, but it has been covered by many artists, including Elvis Presley, Bobbie Gentry, Foo Fighters, Chet Atkins, Joss Stone, and Natalie Merchant. The song was originally offered to Aretha Franklin (who is a preacher’s daughter), but she turned it down because she thought it was disrespectful. She subsequently changed her mind and did a cover version of it.

The backup vocals were by a female group called the Sweet Inspirations, who were made up of Cissy Houston, Sylvia Shemwell, Myrna Smith and Estelle Brown. They were the sought-after female backup vocalists in the New York area, having performed on albums by Aretha Franklin, Wilson Picket, Van Morrison and many others. With four singers, they could create a rich, soulful sound that suited this song perfectly.

Later in 1969, the Sweet Inspirations went to work for Elvis Presley, touring and recording with him. Cissy Houston left the group at this time so she could spend more time with her children, including her young daughter, Whitney Houston.

Son of a Preacher Man

Billy-Ray was a preacher’s son
And when his daddy would visit he’d come along
When they gathered round and started talkin’
That’s when Billy would take me walkin’
A-through the backyard we’d go walkin’
Then he’d look into my eyes
Lord knows to my surprise

The only one who could ever reach me
Was the son of a preacher man
The only boy who could ever teach me
Was the son of a preacher man
Yes he was, he was
Ooh, yes he was

Being good isn’t always easy
No matter how hard I try
When he started sweet-talkin’ to me
He’d come and tell me everything is all right
He’d kiss and tell me everything is all right
Can I get away again tonight?

The only one who could ever reach me
Was the son of a preacher man
The only boy who could ever teach me
Was the son of a preacher man
Yes he was, he was
(Ooh…) Lord knows he was
Yes he was

How well I remember
The look that was in his eyes
Stealin’ kisses from me on the sly
Takin’ time to make time
Tellin’ me that he’s all mine
Learnin’ from each other’s knowing
Lookin’ to see how much we’ve grown

And the only one who could ever reach me
Was the son of a preacher man
The only boy who could ever teach me
Was the son of a preacher man
Yes he was, he was
Ooh, yes he was

The only one who could ever reach me
He was the sweet-talking son of a preacher man
The only boy who could ever teach me
I kissed the son of a preacher man
The only one who could ever move me
The sweet-lovin’ son of a preacher man
The only one who could ever groove me
Ahh, ooh, ahh….

Author: badfinger20

Guitar, Bass, song writer,

20 thoughts on “Dusty Springfield – Son of a Preacher Man”

  1. Recorded at American Sound Studios in Memphis. The band that backed her was called the Memphis Boys. they also player on the Neil Diamond’s hit Sweet Caroline and Aretha Franklin’s Natural Woman.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great song, great singer. I listen to her ‘Greatest hits’ quite frequently. I believe Elton John said of her she was the greatest White female singer who ever lived – vaguely racist overtones notwithstanding, a pretty high compliment!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I just saw they were making a movie- a story on my feed this morning. I forget who is to play Dusty- I never heard of her before which doesn’t mean anything she could be a big star as far as I know! I think the film is still in the planning stages.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am the very same… Ok I looked her up…No I don’t recognize her… The few times I know is if Bailey points them out.
        I’ve never read about her life.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. from what I’ve read the substance problems probably arose from her fear of being “outed”. It’s been suggested she had a lengthy affair with Carole Pope, who is a singer well known to us Canadians as the leather-bound singer for Rough Trade. No one in public knew it back in the day (80s) of course

        Liked by 2 people

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