I never thought of myself as being a good songwriter. There are a ton of other people that are good songwriters, but I don’t think I’m in the club. What I do well is perform, sometimes sing pretty good, and accompany myself well and arrange fairly well.
If you’re writing anything decent, it’s in you, it’s your spirit coming out. If it’s not an expression of how a person genuinely feels, then it’s not a good song done with any conviction.
The Box Tops – The Letter (Upbeat 1967):
|Birth name||William Alexander Chilton|
|Born||December 28, 1950
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
|Died||March 17, 2010 (aged 59)
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
|Genres||Rock ‘n’ roll, power pop, proto-punk, hard rock,blue-eyed soul, indie rock|
|Occupations||Musician, singer, songwriter, record producer|
|Associated acts||Box Tops, Big Star, Tav Falco’s Panther Burns|
A young Alex Chilton w/ Dan Penn:
William Alexander “Alex” Chilton (December 28, 1950 – March 17, 2010) was an American songwriter, guitarist, singerand producer, best known as the lead singer of the Box Tops and Big Star. Chilton’s early commercial success in the 1960s as a teen vocalist for the Box Tops was not repeated in later years with Big Star and in his indie music solo career on small labels, but he drew a loyal following in the indie and alternative music fields and is often cited as an influence by many mainstream rock artists and bands.
Big Star – Thirteen (1972):
Box Tops – I Shall Be Released (Bob Dylan Cover):
Big Star – #1 Record (1972):
…. Big Star’s debut album for the first time decades after its release (as, inevitably, most people must), you may be reminded of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers or R.E.M., who came after — that is, if you don’t think of the Byrds and the Beatles, circa 1965. What was remarkable about #1 Record in 1972 was that nobody except Big Star (and maybe Badfinger and the Raspberries) wanted to sound like this — simple, light pop with sweet harmonies and jangly guitars. Since then, dozens of bands have rediscovered those pleasures. But in a way, that’s an advantage because, whatever freshness is lost across the years, Big Star’s craft is only confirmed. ….
~William Ruhlmann (allmusic.com)
At the dark end of the street
That’s where we always meet
Hiding in shadows where we don’t belong
Livin in darkness to hide a wrong
You and me
At the dark end of the street
You and me
Dan Penn was an important player in the development of the “Southern Soul scene” in Memphis in the early 60’s.
Here he performs one of the greatest soul songs ever, which he wrote together with Chips Moman in 1966:
Dark End of The Street:
I also need to include the best version of this fantastic song – James Carr:
Dan Penn (born Wallace Daniel Pennington, 16 November 1941) is an American singer, musician, songwriter, and record producer who co-wrote many soul hits of the 1960s including “Dark End Of The Street” and “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” with Chips Moman as well as “Out Of Left Field” and “Cry Like a Baby” with Spooner Oldham. Penn also produced many hits including “The Letter” by The Box Tops. Though considered to be one of the great white soul singers of his generation, Penn has released relatively few records featuring his own vocals and musicianship preferring the relative anonymity of songwriting and producing.
I’m Your Puppet (Penn/Spooner Oldham):
Steve Kurutz (allmusic.com):
Songwriter/producer Dan Penn has been a quiet force behind Southern soul music for over thirty years. Always moving just out of view of the limelight, Penn has produced and written hits for the Box Tops, Solomon Burke, Aretha Franklin and Ronnie Milsap, among others.
Originally from Vernon, Alabama, Penn began his career as a performer, leading several white R&B bands around the Muscle Shoals area. Achieving early success by selling a hit song to Conway Twitty (“Is a Bluebird Blue?”), the songwriter eventually moved to Memphis, joining producer Chips Moman at his American Studios. Together the two, along with Penn’s writing partner, organist Spooner Oldham, wrote and/or produced several hits for the Box Tops, such as “The Letter” and “Cry Like a Baby,” throughout the late ’60s.
…read more over @ allmusic.com
Do Right Man (1994):
From allmusic.com (Chris Nickson):
If James Brown is Soul Brother Number One, you can make a very credible case for Dan Penn being number two. The Alabama native has had a hand in writing a fair number of classic soul songs, and here he commits his versions of them to tape for the first time, recording, of course, in Muscle Shoals, with their fabulous house band, and a horn section including former Memphis Horn member Wayne Jackson. It’s a tall order Penn sets himself, offering himself up for comparison with greats like James Carr, Aretha Franklin, and James and Bobby Purify, who have sung his songs — and that’s just the start of the list. However, he comes out very well, beginning with a quiet take on”The Dark End of the Street,” coming across like a note to a secret lover, rather than a cry of pain.
…read more – allmusic.com