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.
Penn eventually returned to Muscle Shoals during the period when Atlantic Records vice president Jerry Wexler was bringing acts like Aretha Franklin and Solomon Burke down from New York to record there. This led to Franklin cutting the Penn/Oldham composition "Do Right Woman," and for the next several years, Penn compositions such as "Dark End of the Street," "Woman Left Lonely" and "I'm Your Puppet" became soul classics and were recorded by such greats as James Carr, Janis Joplin and Dionne Warwick, respectively.