The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum

Hall of Fame Series with Spooner Oldham

Friday, November 11: 2:30 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Spooner Oldham

On November 2, 2011, Hall of Fame inductee Spooner Oldham spoke with and performed for a sold-out audience in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's Foster Theater. Oldham is a linchpin of Southern Soul and the Alabama sound, a fixture of famed Muscle Shoals and FAME studios, where his keyboard playing enlivened some of the biggest rock and roll songs of the past 50 years, including Aretha Franklin's "I Never Loved a Man," Wilson Pickett's "Mustang Sally" and Percy Sledge's "When a Man Loves a Woman." Together with singer-songwriter Dan Penn, Spooner contributed a number of classics to the canon of rock, co-writing "Cry Like a Baby" by the Box Tops, "It Tears Me Up" by Percy Sledge and "I'm Your Puppet" by James and Bobby Purify. 

Born Dewey Lyndon "Spooner" Oldham in Center Star, Alabama, Oldham is one of rock's most in-demand players, appearing on records and tours with luminaries such as Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin and Neil Young, in addition to newer act Drive-By Truckers. 

During his Hall of Fame series interview with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum director of education Jason Hanley, Oldham talked about the influence of Elvis Presley, his first forays into songwriting with "puppy love kind of songs,"  getting credit – and paid – in the early days of recording, working with Aretha Franklin on "I Never Loved a Man," "Chain of Fools" and "Natural Woman," jamming with Duane Allman and taking chances as a musician. 

In this clip, Oldham explains the unusual circumstances surrounding the recording of James and Bobby Purify's 1966 hit "I'm Your Puppet" – a song Oldham co-wrote. Oldham also takes a seat at his electric piano for a moving solo performance of the track.

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