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Dewey Lindon "Spooner" Oldham (born June 14, 1943) is an American songwriter and session musician. An organist, he recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, at FAME Studios as part of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section on such hit R&B songs as Percy Sledge's "When a Man Loves a Woman", Wilson Pickett's "Mustang Sally", and Aretha Franklin's "I Never Loved a Man".

Spooner Oldham
Birth nameDewey Lindon Oldham, Jr.
Born (1943-06-14) June 14, 1943 (age 76)
Center Star, Alabama
United States
Years active1960s–present
Associated acts

As a songwriter, Oldham teamed with Dan Penn to write such hits as "Cry Like a Baby" (the Box Tops), "I'm Your Puppet" (James and Bobby Purify), and "A Woman Left Lonely" and "It Tears Me Up" (Percy Sledge).[1]



A native of Center Star, Alabama, Oldham started by playing piano in bands during high school. He then attended classes at the University of North Alabama but turned instead to playing at FAME Studios. He moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1967 and teamed with Penn at Chips Moman's American Studios.[2]

Oldham later moved to Los Angeles and has continued to be a sought-after backing musician, recording and performing with such artists as Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Delaney Bramlett, Willy DeVille, Joe Cocker, the Hacienda Brothers, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, the Everly Brothers, Bob Seger, Dickey Betts, Cat Power, J.J. Cale, and Frank Black.

Frequently a backing musician for Neil Young, he played on Young's critically acclaimed 1992 album Harvest Moon. Oldham also appeared in the concert film Neil Young: Heart of Gold and backed Crosby Stills Nash & Young on their 2006 Freedom of Speech tour.[3]

In 1993, he joined a host of Memphis soul music veterans to record Arthur Alexander's comeback and un-intended final studio recording, the album Lonely Just Like Me. [4] [5] [6]

In 2007, Oldham toured with the Drive-By Truckers on their The Dirt Underneath tour. In 2008, Oldham played on Last Days at the Lodge, the third album released by folk/soul singer Amos Lee. In May 2011, Oldham backed Pegi Young on a six-show tour of California.


Oldham was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009 as a sideman. In 2014, he was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.[7]


  1. ^ Kurutz, Steve. "Spooner Oldham Biography". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  2. ^ Hasted, Nick (5 November 1999). "Music: Good ol' boys in the hood". The Independent.
  3. ^ "Spooner Oldham Biography". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  4. ^ "Arthur Alexander "Lonely Just Like Me"". Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  5. ^ "Arthur Alexander "Lonely Just Like Me - The Final Chapter"". Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  6. ^ "Arthur Alexander "Lonely Just Like Me"". Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  7. ^ "6 slated for Alabama Music Hall of Fame". The Miami Herald. Associated Press. 28 February 2014.

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