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Dan Penn

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Wallace Daniel Pennington (16 November 1941 -) is an American singer, songwriter, record producer and sometime guitar player who co-wrote many soul hits of the 1960s including “Dark End of the Street” & “Do Right Woman” (with Chips Moman) and “Out of Left Field” & “Cry Like A Baby” (with Spooner Oldham). Penn has also produced hits such as “The Letter” by The Box Tops, amongst others. Though he is considered to be one of the great white soul singers, Penn has a meagre recorded output, preferring the relative anonymity of songwriting & producing.

Penn grew up in Vernon, Alabama and spent much his teens and early twenties in the Quad Cities/Muscle Shoals area. He was a regular at Rick Hall’s FAME Studios as a performer, songwriter and producer. It was during his time with FAME that Penn cut his first record, “Crazy Over You” in 1960, and wrote his first hit, “Is a Bluebird Blue?” which was recorded by Conway Twitty in the same year. The success of “I’m Your Puppet,” a #6 pop hit for James & Bobby Purify, convinced him that songwriting was a worthwhile (and lucrative) career choice.
In early 1966, Penn moved to Memphis, began writing for Press Publishing Company, and worked with Chips Moman at his American Studios. Their intense and short-lived partnership produced some of the best known and most enduring songs of the genre. Their first collaboration, the enduring classic “Dark End of the Street”, was first a hit for James Carr and has been recorded by many others since, notably by Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris and by Linda Ronstandt.

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