b. AIbert Greene, 13th April 1946, Forrest City, Arkansas, U.S.A.
Al Green was born in Forrest City in Arkansas. He began his singing career at the age of nine in his fathers group, the Green Brothers. Al was the sixth of ten children born to Robert and Cora Greene. The Green Brothers toured throughout the South in the mid-'50s, before the family moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan. Al later left the group and formed a Rock / R & B band called Al Greene and the Creations, which then became re-titled Al Greene and The Soul Mates.
The latter incarnation released a single called 'Back Up Train', which was later to be featured on Al's solo album release. Al's father removed him from the group when he caught Al listening to Jackie Wilson. Al Greene's debut solo LP was released on the Hot Line imprint in 1967, and was called 'Back Up Train'. Around this time Al came to the attention of the legendary producer Willie Mitchell.
In 1969, Willie hired him as a vocalist for a Texas show with his band, and then asked him to sign with the label. In 1970, Al recorded the album 'Green Is Blues' with his new partner. The follow up LP, 'Al Green Gets Next to You' (released in 1970), was a success and included four gold singles. 'Let's Stay Together' (released in 1972) was an even bigger success, as was 'I'm Still In Love With You' (released in 1972). 'Call Me' continued the success, a set followed by 'Al Green Explores Your Mind' (released in 1974) containing the song 'Take Me to the River', later covered by Talking Heads, amongst others. The following year Al released '(I'm So) Tired Of Being Alone', whose success set the scene for the following 5 years, where Al recorded 9 albums, had seven top ten hits and sold 30 million records!
Disaster struck on the 18th of October 1974, when Al was left with severe burns on his back, stomach and arm after an argument with a friend and partner, Mary Woodson (whom Al had met whilst performing in the New York State Correctional Facility. Mary was visiting a friend at the establishment). She had told Al she was not attached, although she was married with children at the time. Mary burst in whillst Al was taking a bath and poured boiling grits over his back and then shot herself dead, which left the singer with second degree burns. Although she was already married, Woodson reportedly became upset when Green refused to marry her. This tragic accident led to Al re-assessing his life and he decided to turn to Gospel as a healer.
He joined the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Memphis, where he still preaches and sings to the congregation today. Al recorded two soul / gospel albums entitled 'The Belle Album ' in 1977 and 'Truth N'Time' in 1978, and, during live performances, he still sang his older, successful, secular material.
Disaster struck yet again in 1979, when Al fell onto a steel instrument case in Cincinnatti, which led to a 15 day stay in hospital. After this incident, Al stuck strictly to his Gospel singing for a while, feeling that the Lord was punishing him in some way. His first completely Gospel record arrived in 1980, entitled 'The Lord Will Make A Way' for the Myrrh imprint. This album won Al a Grammy for the Best Soul Gospel Performer.
By 1985, Al had joined A & M Records, where he worked with Willie Mitchell again on the album 'Going Away'. The following year saw the release of 'Soul Survivor', which moved Al back into a more soulful / gospel vein again. He hit the charts the same year with the Arthur Baker produced single 'The Message Is Love'. Al was also featured in the 1988 movie 'Scrooged' recording the song 'Put A Little Love In Your Heart', a duet with Annie Lennox. By 1993, Al was recording with Arthur Baker again, and released the album 'Don't Look Back'.
Al's first secular album in many years was 'Your Heart's In Good Hands' (released in 1995). The same year hewas inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2003 Al released a secular album entitled 'I Can't Stop', his first collaboration with Willie Mitchell since 1985's 'He is the Light'. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Al at number 65 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
2005 saw the release of 'Everything's O.K.', which was also a collaboration with Willie Mitchell on this release. Willie returned to the studio in 2008, which saw the release of 'Lay It Down'. 'Lay It Down', includes tracks featuring John Legend, Corinne Bailey Rae and Anthony Hamilton. Al was, also, honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2008 BET Awards on the 24th of June 2008. Soul fans look to his single 'Keep On Pushing Love' as one of his finest recent releases.
- Back Up Train (1967)
- Green Is Blues (Hi 1970)
- Al Green Gets Next To You (Hi 1971)
- Let's Stay Together (Hi 1972)
- Al Green (Bell 1972)
- I'm Still In Love With You (Hi 1972)
- Call Me (Hi 1973)
- Livin' For You (Hi 1973)
- Al Green Explores Your Mind (Hi 1974)
- Radio Special: Self Portrait (1974)
- Al Green Is Love (Hi 1975)
- Full Of Fire (Hi 1976)
- Have A Good Time (Hi 1976)
- The Belle Album (Hi 1977)
- Truth 'N' Time (Hi 1978)
- Love Ritual (1978)
- The Lord Will Make A Way (Myrrh 1980)
- Higher Plane (Myrrh 1981)
- Tokyo Live (Hi 1981)
- Precious Lord (Myrhh 1982)
- I'll Rise Again (Myrrh 1983)
- The Christmas Album (1983)
- Trust In God (Myrrh 1984)
- He Is The Light (A&M 1985)
- Going Away (A&M 1986)
- White Christmas (Hi 1986)
- Soul Survivor (A&M 1987)
- I Get Joy (A&M 1989)
- Love Is Reality (1992)
- Gospel Soul (1993)
- Don't Look Back (RCA 1994)
- In Good Hands (MCA 1995)
- On Fire In Tokyo (Xenon 1998)
- Feels Like Christmas (2001)
- I Can't Stop (Blue Note 2003)
- Everything's O.K. (Blue Note 2005)
- Lay It Down (Blue Note 2008)
- 1973 - Live at WNET Studios
- 1974-10-04 - los angeles, ca
- 1987-06-21 - Chicago Blues Festival - low bitrate, need better!
- 2008-06-20 - Rochester Jazz Festival, NY
- 2009-06-12 - Bonnaroo, Manchester TN
- The Immortal Soul Of Al Green (4 CD set) (2001)
- Collector's Edition (3 CD, 2007)
- Al Green Sings the Gospel (1975)
- A Deep Shade of Green (1996)
- The Love Songs Collection
- The Definitive Greatest Hits (1975)
Thanks to: Fresh Sly, Zand, Blak's Lair, Noise Junkie, Nathan's Rock Moat