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Al Green

Biography

Discography

Awards

Touring Schedule

 

Biography

The Reverend Al Green is a superstar in both the secular rhythm & blues and sacred gospel genres, scoring many hits and reaping numerous awards from both camps. Born in 1946 to an Arkansas sharecropping family, Green began singing gospel at age nine with his brothers. His dad booted him from the group some years later for listening to profane music: Jackie Wilson. With Palmer James and Curtis Rogers, he fronted Al Green & the Soul Mates, who had a national hit in '67 with "Back Up Train."

Green became partners with Willie Mitchell in '69. Mitchell, vice president of Hi Records in Memphis, signed Green, led his band, and produced or co-produced his records. The pairing led to a string of '70s soul hits such as the classics "Let's Stay Together" and "I'm Still In Love With You." In '74, Green's girlfriend Mary Woodson attacked him in a rage (after Green had declined marriage) by pouring boiling grits on him while he bathed, and then shot herself. Woodson was, allegedly unbeknownst to Green, already married and with children. A period of convalescence (and skin grafts) led Green to decide to go into the ministry. He purchased a Memphis church two years later and became an ordained minister, but continued to release R&B records.

At a Cincinnati concert in '79, Green fell from the stage but wasn't seriously hurt. Viewing this as a sign from God, Green made gospel records only for years from this point. Appearances were only at church functions, featuring the Reverend both preaching and singing. In recent years, Green has loosened up and made soul/R&B music again while maintaining the gospel side of his work as well. During this period, duets with Annie Lennox and Lyle Lovett have both been notable successes.

This Biography was written by S.L. Duff

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Last modified: 04/21/2014