Dusty Springfield’s Son of a Preacher Man is so iconic that it barely merits explanation, but the song was originally offered to Aretha Franklin. She turned it down. Writers John Hurley and Ronnie Wilkins then passed it to Aretha’s sister, Erma, though it was Dusty’s version that prompted Aretha to record the song herself in 1970. Aretha’s version was backed with Call Me, but it was the b-side that became the hit.
Dusty Springfield’s Son of a Preacher Man went top 10 in the UK and US in 1968, and was her last smash hit until she teamed up with the Pet Shop Boys nearly 20 years later.
Dusty’s mellow, plaintive vocals are without compare: Quentin Tarantino claimed he could not have recorded the unforgettable scene in Pulp Fiction if he couldn’t secure the rights to the song. The film was described by the Guardian as mastering “every aspect of the film-maker’s craft”, but it was that performance – that song – that made the moment.