Al Green (born April 13, 1946) is an American soul singer. He produced hits throughout the 1970s, selling over 20 million albums. Some of his greatest hits include "Tired of Being Alone", "I'm Still In Love With You", "Love and Happiness," and "Let's Stay Together." He is listed as number 66 on Rolling Stone's Greatest Artists of All Time. Green has balanced his pop career with his spirituality, preaching and singing gospel at his church between tours. Green continues to perform and record. His last recording, Lay it Down, was released in 2008.
Green was born Albert Greene in Forrest City, Arkansas as the sixth of 10 children. His became interested in music at a young age, and by the time he was nine years old he was performing in with two of his brothers in a gospel quartet called "The Greene Brothers." The group toured around the south before the Greene family relocated to Michigan. When his father caught him listening to Jackie Wilson when he was 16, he kicked him out of the group. Green then decided to form his own group, a pop group, with some friends from his high school. The group was called "Al Greene and the Creations." Two of the members of the group founded a record company which was to be the first vehicle for Green's work. They recorded "Back Up Train" in 1967 and it went to No. 5 on the R&B charts, but soon after the group broke up.
In 1969, Green met Willie Mitchell, who was a band leader and executive at Midland, Texas' soul label Hi Records. Mitchell would ultimately become one of his most important partners. Mitchell convinced Green to move to Memphis, and soon after, in 1971, Green released his first hit, "Tired of Being Alone." Most of his hits came shortly after, between 1972 and 1974. His song, "Let's Stay Together" was his only song to hit No. 1 on the charts, but he had six others make it into the top ten.
Tired of Being Alone
Let's Stay Together
In 1974, Green was irrevocably changed by an incident in which his former girlfriend poured boiling grits on him while he was in the bathtub, then immediately used his gun to kill herself. He was left with second degree burns on his back, arms and stomach. The incident reinvigorated his spiritual side, and he went on to purchase a church in Memphis, writing a check for the building on a blank piece of paper.
He spent three years alternating between doing pop tours and preaching at his church. In 1979, he fell off a stage and only barely escaped serious injury. He believed the incident was a warning from God and turned his attention almost entirely to the church. He went on to earn eight Grammy awards in the gospel genre. Although most of what he produced in the 1980s was not pop, he worked with Patti Labelle on Broadway and recorded a duet with Annie Lennox, "Put a Little Love in Your Heart."
Put A Little Love in Your Heart
For the Good Times
The 1990s saw Green release his first secular album in years, Your Heart's in Good Hands (1995), and his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In the 2000s, Green reunited with Willie Mitchell to produce two albums, I Can't Stop and Everything's OK. Green followed with Lay It Down in 2008. He lives in Memphis and still serves as a pastor at his church.
Love and Happiness
- Birthday Date: Sunday, 13 April 2014