Green Is Blues, Hi Records, 1970.
Al Green Gets Next to You, Hi Records, 1971.
Let's Stay Together, Hi Records, 1972.
I'm Still in Love with You, Hi Records, 1972.
Al Green Explores Your Mind, Hi Records, 1974.
Greatest Hits, Hi Records, 1975.
Full of Fire, Hi Records, 1976.
The Belle Album, Hi Records, 1977.
Greatest Hits, Volume 2, Motown, 1977.
Truth N' Time, Hi Records, 1978.
Higher Plane, A&M, 1981.
Precious Lord, A&M, 1982.
Soul Survivor, A&M, 1987.
I Get Joy, A&M, 1989.
Trust in God, A&M, 1986.
One in a Million, Word/Epic, 1991.
Love Is Reality, Word/Epic, 1992.
Your Heart's in Good Hands, MCA, 1995.
Feel's Like Christmas, Capitol, 2001.
I Can't Stop, Blue Note, 2003.
The Immortal Soul of Al Green, Hi/The Right Stuff, 2004.
Everything's OK, Blue Note, 2005.
Lay it Down, Blue Note, 2008.
Considered by many music writers as the last true successor of Sam Cooke and Otis Redding, Al Green has enjoyed a long and rewarding career as a pop and gospel singer. His pop and religious works have earned consistent praise from musicians and critics alike. Unlike the great R&B shouters and early soul singers, Green has a voice that, although capable of rich blues-drenched tones and soaring falsetto cries, displays plaintive emotion without harsh delivery or guttural technique. His silken voice landed him a string of million-selling hits in the 1970s. Following his departure from popular music in 1980, he became a member of the ministry and a singer of gospel music. His recent return to pop music and the appearance of his music in documentaries and film soundtracks has once again brought him widespread notice. Able to straddle the fence between secular and religious music, he has devoted himself to the universal message of music.
Albert Green was born on April 13, 1946, in Forrest City, Arkansas. As a teenager Green and his brothers, Walter, William, and Robert, formed a gospel quartet, The Green Brothers. Though he sang in the gospel group, Green had developed an affinity for both religious and popular music. He stated, as quoted in the book Black Popular Music by Arnold Shaw, "I didn't make distinctions between spiritual and secular music to any great extent back then. If they sang with feeling, from their hearts, I loved the music."
At age 12 Green moved with his family to Grand Rapids, Michigan, a city about 180 miles west of Detroit. Four years later he and several school friends formed a pop group, the Creations. In 1967 the group, renamed Al Green and the Soulmates, recorded the pop hit "Back Up Train" for the Hotline label; the song rose to number five on the R&B charts and number 41 on the Billboard charts. Despite the song's success, the group did not score a follow-up hit and disbanded soon after.
In 1968 Green performed at a club in Midland, Texas, backed by Memphis bandleader and trumpeter Willie Mitchell (who had scored a hit with a remake of King Curtis's instrumental "Soul Serenade"). Impressed with Green's 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 within a year. About six months later, Green arrived in Memphis. As author Shaw explained in Black Popular Music, "Together, Green and Mitchell sought to forge a style that combined the pop-soul of Detroit's Motown with the down home soul of Memphis's Stax [label], aiming for a black-white synthesis that blended black soul with white pop." In the studio Mitchell assembled a stellar lineup of backing musicians to perform behind Green. They included the family team of guitarist Teenie Hodges, organist Charles Hodges, and bassist Leroy Hodges, as well as veteran members of Booker T. and The MG's and Stax studio drummer Al Jackson Jr. (who had also played with Otis Redding). 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."
In 1968 the Green-Mitchell collaboration released a cover of the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand", as well as a commercially unsuccessful rendition of the Hayes-Porter ballad "One Woman." Not until he recorded a remake of the Temptations' hit "I Can't Get Next to You" did Green establish himself as pop singing star. For 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 in the Chicago Tribune. "We started coming up with jazz chords—pretty music on top and heavy on the bottom. And it just clicked." Accompanied by Teenie Hodges's relaxed and tasteful guitar work, "Tired of Being Alone" emerged as Green's first smash hit. These singles appeared on Green's 1971 LP Al Green Gets Next to You, which also included Green's gritty number "I'm a Ram," as well as a cover of blues pianist Roosevelt Sykes's "Driving Wheel." (Green's rendition was inspired by a later remake of the song by blues singer Little Junior Parker.) Green's original "You Say It" owes a debt to Green's early Memphis singing mentors Sam and Dave.
He duetted with Annie Lennox on ''Put A Little Love In Your Heart'' in 1988 and 2008's album: ''Lay It Down'' was his most successful in 35 years, hitting #9 in the Billboard Charts.
Awards: Grammy Awards, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1994; inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 1994; inducted into Gospel Hall of Fame, 2004; inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame, 2004; BMI, Icon Award, 2004.
Addresses: Office—Full Gospel Tabernacle Ministries, P.O. Box 9485, Memphis, TN 38109. Website—Al Green Official Website: http://www.algreenmusic.com.
Sources: Wendy Gabriel; Enotes.com
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