Al Green


Southern Soul,Gospel,Contemporary Gospel

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With all due respect to Ray Charles,Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye, Al Green is the greatest soul singer of all time.  We love those other guys and we recognize their greatness,  Al Green match the funky grooves of Otis Redding with the smooth vocals of Sam Cooke and Marvin GayeAl Green first hit the scene with his 1966 Soul Mates hit "Back-up train", was top of the soul world in the 70's, committed his life and skills to God in the late 70's and continues to preach and amaze today.

Al Green was born in Forest City, Arkansas, where he formed a gospel quartet, the Green Brothers, at the age of nine. The group toured throughout the South in the mid- '50s, before the family relocated to Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Green Brothers continued to perform in Grand Rapids, but Al's father kicked the boy out of the group after he caught his son listening to Jackie Wilson. At the age of 16, Al Green formed an R&B group, Al Green & the Creations, with several of his high-school friends.  The Creations re-named themselves the Soul Mates in 1966. Their first single, "Back Up Train," became a surprise hit, climbing to number five on the R&B charts early in 1968.

In 1968Al Green performed at a club in Midland, Texas, backed by Memphis bandleader and trumpeter Willie Mitchell. Impressed with Al Greens talent, Mitchell, a part-time talent scout and producer for Hi Records in Memphis, invited the young singer to record on the label with the promise that he could make Green a star in little over a year. About six months later, Al Green arrived in Memphis.  As Arnold Shaw explained in Black Popular Music, "Together, Al Green and Willie Mitchell sought to forge a style that combined the pop-soul of Detroit's Motown with the down home soul of Memphis' Stax [label], aiming for a black-white synthesis that blended black soul with white pop."

In the studio Mitchell assembled a stellar line-up of back-up musicians to perform behind Al Green—musicians that included the family team of guitarist Teenie Hodges, organist Charles Hodges, and bassist Leroy Hodges, as well as veteran membersof Booker T. and The MG's and Stax studio drummer Al Jackson Jr. The music formula put forth by Mitchell and Green proved an outstanding combination. As music writer Peter Guralnick wrote in Sweet Soul Music, "Willie Mitchell and Al Green came up with an old idea phrased in a new way, the last eccentric refinement of Sam Cooke's lyrical gospel-edged style as filtered through the fractured vocal approach of Otis Redding and the peculiarly fragmented vision of Al Green himself."

n 1968 the Green-Mitchell collaboration released a cover of the Beatles' "I Want Hold Your Hand" and a commercially unsuccessful rendition of the Hayes-Porter ballad "One Woman." Not until Al Green recorded a remake of the Temptations' hit "I Can't Get Next to You" did Green establish himself as pop singing star. For Al Green's next single "Tired of Being Alone," Mitchell sought a more subtle sound in Green's voice. "We started working, trying to get him to sing softer," explained Mitchell, as quoted in the Chicago Tribune, "We started coming up with jazz chords—retty music on top and heavy on the bottom. And it just clicked." Accompanied by Teenie Hodges' relaxed and tasteful guitar work, "Tired of Being Alone" emerged as Al Green's first smash hit.

Released in early 1970, Al Green's debut album Green Is Blues showcased the signature sound he and Mitchell devised -- a sinewy, sexy groove highlighted by horn punctuations and string beds that let Green showcase his remarkable falsetto. While the album didn't spawn any hit singles, it was well-received and set the stage for the breakthrough success of his second album. Al Green Gets Next to You (1970) included, "Tired of Being Alone," which began a streak of four straight gold singles.

Let's Stay Together (1972) was Al Green's first genuine hit album, climbing to number eight on the pop charts; its title track became his first number one single. I'm Still in Love With You, which followed only a few months later, was an even greater success, peaking at number four and launching the hits "Look What You Done for Me" and "I'm Still in Love With You."

By the release of 1973's Call Me,Al Green was known as both a hitmaker and an artist who released consistently engaging, frequently excellent, critically-acclaimed albums. His hits continued uninterrupted through the next two years, with "Call Me," "Here I Am," and "Sha-La-La (Make Me Happy)" all becoming Top Ten gold singles.

At the height of his popularity,Al Green's former girlfriend, Mary Woodson, broke into his Memphis home in October 1974 and poured boiling grits on the singer as he was bathing, inflicting second-degree burns on his back, stomach and arm; after assaulting Green, she killed herself with his gun. Green interpreted the violent incident as a sign from God that he should enter the ministry.

By 1976, Al Green had bought a church in Memphis and had become an ordained pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle. Though he had begun to seriously pursue religion, Al Green had not given up singing R&B. After recovering from the physical and emotional affects of the much-publicized incident with his former girlfriend, Al Green recorded the 1976 LP Full Of Fire for the Hi label.

In 1977 Green, expressing increasing interest in recording gospel music, parted company with Mitchell and without the line-up of the Hi rhythm section recorded the critically acclaimed LP The Belle Album, an intimate record exorcising the demons of his incident with Mary Woodson.  The Belle Album was critically acclaimed but failed to win a crossover audience.  The Belle Album was noted for Green's playing of acoustic and electric guitar and inventive sound techniques.

In 1978 Al Green cut Truth N' Time, an LP that included the gospel songs "Blow Me Down" and "King of All" and a religious treatment of Burt Bacharach's "Say a Little Prayer for Me."

During a concert in Cincinnati in 1979, Green fell off the stage and nearly injured himself seriously. Interpreting the accident as a sign from God, Green retired from performing secular music and devoted himself to preaching.

A new religious direction led Al Green to a modern gospel recording career. Green's voice is in fine form on the albums Higher Plane (1981) and Precious Lord (1982).  In 1982 Al Green also starred in the stage production Your Arms Too Short to Box with God with Patti LaBelle. He signed with A&M Records in 1985 and recorded three albums for the label, including the 1987 release Soul Survivor. In live performance Al Green continued to awe audiences.

In the New York Times Jon Pareles captured Al Green's on-stage energy in a review of the singers' performance at New York's Radio City in August of 1987: "He would bring a song down to a whisper; he'd break into his clear, agile falsetto, or show off by walking away from the microphone as he sang, projecting his unassisted voice well past the first 20 rows.… Green shifted continually between control and abandon; he skipped and strutted, made faces, stood with seemingly limp arms and then broke into preacherly gesticulations. By the final song he was jumping into the air at musical peaks."

Al Green's 1989 A&M album I Get Joy contained the lead track "You're Everything to Me."  Green's 1991 release, One In a Million, for the Word/Epic label was followed by the LP Love is Reality, a religious-based blend of uptempo numbers immersed in synth-pop and funk rhythms.

By 1993 Al Green began to once again record secular material, and in the following year appeared in the music film Rhythm, Country, and Blues, a tribute to the musical cultures of Memphis and Nashville. The film's soundtrack, produced by Don Was, featured a number of musical performances by R&B and country stars, including a duet byAl Green and Lyle Lovett of "(Ain't it Funny) How Time Slips Away." For his 1995 release for MCA Records, Your Heart's in Good Hands, Al Green was backed by the legendary Memphis Horns.

By the late 1990s,Al Green had overcome diminishing record sales and was enjoying a surge of fan interest. His song "Take to Me the River" had become, as a result of a 1980s cover by the Talking Heads, his most famous composition; his 1970s hit "Let's Stay Together" attracted renewed interest when it was featured in the film soundtrack to the 1994 film Pulp Fiction. His career received another boost in 1999 when he made a quest appearance on the popular television series Ally McBeal, singing his 1972 song "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart."

In 2003, Al Green worked with his old companion, Willie Mitchell, at his old studio, Hi Records, on the release of I Can't Stop. On this well-reviewed album, Al Green successfully returned to the sound that made him famous in the 1970s on such tracks as "I Can't Stop" and "Not Tonight. "One and a half years later, he followed it with Everything's OK. His third Blue Note album, 2008's Lay It Down, featured an updated sound that still echoed the feel of his classic earlier soul style. In 2010 MCA released Love Ritual, a collection of rare and unreleased tracks from Al Green's most prolific period of 1968 to 1976

n 2004, Al Green was inducted into the Gospel Music Association's Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Also in 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him #65 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted Green in 1995, referring to him as "one of the most gifted purveyors of soul music."

Justin Timberlake, once said of Al Green "people are born to do certain things, and Al Green was born to make us smile."

Listen to Christian Music Artist Al Green


Album Title Year Label
Back Up Train1967Arista/Legacy
Green Is Blues1970The Right Stuff
Gets Next to You1971The Right Stuff
Let's Stay Together1972The Right Stuff
AL Green1972Bell Records
I'm Still In Love With You1972The Right Stuff
Call Me1973The Right Stuff
Livin' for You1973Capitol Records
Al Green Explores Your Mind1974The Right Stuff
Greatest Hits1975The Right Stuff
Al Green Is Love1975Capitol/Hi Records
... And The Message Is Love1975Universal Distribution
Full of Fire1976Capitol Records
Have a Good Time1976Capitol Records
Al Green's Greatest Hits, Vol. 21977Motown Records
The Belle Album 1977The Right Stuff
Truth N Time1978Motown Records
Lord Will Make a Way1980A&M Records
The Cream of Al Green1980Cream Records
Highway to Heaven1981Myrrh Records
Spotlight on Al Green1981PRT Music
Tokyo Live1981The Right Stuff
Higher Plane1981A&M Records
100 Minutes1982PRT Music
Precious Lord1982Word Records
Al Green Christmas1983EMI-Capitol Records
I'll Rise Again1983Word Records
He Is the Light1985PSM
Trust in God 1986A&M Records
White Christmas1986Word Records
Soul Survivor1987Universal
Hi Life: The Best of Al Green1988K-Tel Distribution
Love Ritual1989Hi Records
I Get Joy1989Arrival Records
From My Soul1990Myrrh Records
One in a Million1990Word Records
Al Green Presents The Full Gospel Tabernacle Choir1990Myrrh Records
Love Is Reality1992Motown Records
The Supreme Al Green: The Greatest Hits1992Word Records
Al Green Sings the Gospel1992Motown Records
Gospel Soul1993K-Tel
Don't Look Back1993BMG Ariola
Glory to His Name1994EMI Digital
Back to Back Hits1995Capitol Records
Back to Back Hits:Al Green and Teddy Pendergrass1995Platinum Disc
Unchained Melody1995Capitol Records
Cover Me Green1995Hi Records
The Flipside Of Al Green1995Hi Records
You Say It!: Raw, Rare! and Unreleased1995Hi Records
Your Heart's in Good Hands1995MCA Records
Anthology1997Capitol Records
Take Me To The River: Greatest Hits Volume 21997Hi Records
Rock of Ages1997AMW Music
More Greatest Hits1998EMI Digital
Hi and Mighty: The Story of Al Green (1969-1978)1998Hi Rercords
Hi Masters1998Hi Records
The Very Best of Al Green2000EMI Distribution
Greatest Gospel Hits2000The Right Stuff
True Love: A Collection2000Empire Music Group
The Hi Singles A's and B's2000Hi Records
Free Soul2000Phantom Import Distribution
Take Me to the River2000The Right Stuff
Listen: The Rarities2000Hi Records
Simply Beautiful [Vinyl]2001Get Back Records
Here I Am2001Madacy Distribution
Gospel Collection2001Spectrum Music
Testify: The Best of the A&M Years2001A&M Records
Love & Happiness-the Very Best of Al Green2001Hi Records
Very Best of Al Green2001Empire Music Group
Essential2002BMG Special Products
Love Songs Collection2003Capitol Records
I Can't Stop2003Blue Note Records
14 Greatest Hits (Compact Command Performances)2004Motown Records
Immortal Soul of Al Green2004Hi Records
Absolute Best2004The Right Stuff
Love-Essential2004Hi Records
Shades of Al Green2004Hi Records
Back to Back Hits2004EMI Music Distribution
Everything's OK2005Blue Note Records
Best of Gospel2006Provident Music
20th Century Masters: Millennium Collection2006A&M Records
Vol. 1-Legendary Hi Album: Green Is Blues2006Hi Records
Vol. 2-Legendary Hi Album: Call Me/Livin' for You2006Hi Records
Legendary Hi Albums, Vol. 32006Hi Records
Greatest Hits (Get Back)2006Hi Records
Definitive Greatest Hits2007Capitol Records
Platinum2007Capitol Records
Al Green2007Madacy Distribution
What Makes the World Go Round2008Hear Music
Al Green for Lovers2008Q Records
Lay It Down2008Blue Note Records
Best of the Gospel Sessions2011New Haven Records





United States

Record Label:

Blue Note Records

Christian Label:


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