Al Green is a legendary American singer, songwriter, and record producer, known for his soulful voice and R&B hits in the 1970s. Born in Arkansas in 1946, Green began his music career as a gospel singer before transitioning to secular music in the late 1960s. He quickly rose to fame with hits like “Tired of Being Alone,” “Let’s Stay Together,” and “I’m Still in Love with You,” which showcased his smooth vocals and emotional depth.
Green’s music was characterized by its combination of gospel and soul influences, as well as its themes of love and heartbreak. He recorded over 30 albums in his career, earning multiple Grammy Awards and being inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Beyond his music, Green is also known for his philanthropic work, including his founding of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Memphis, Tennessee. He has also been an advocate for environmental issues and was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.
Today, Al Green’s music continues to be celebrated and influence new generations of artists. His soulful voice and timeless hits remain beloved classics of the R&B genre.
1. L-O-V-E (Love)
“L-O-V-E” is a classic jazz-pop song written by Bert Kaempfert and Milt Gabler, with lyrics by Nat King Cole. It was recorded by Nat King Cole in 1964 and has since become a beloved standard, covered by many artists. The song’s upbeat tempo, catchy melody, and charming lyrics about the joys of love make it a popular choice for weddings, romantic occasions, and easy listening playlists. Nat King Cole’s smooth vocals and the playful brass section in the background add to the song’s timeless appeal. “L-O-V-E” is a testament to the power of love and has remained a beloved classic in the world of music.
2. You Ought to Be With Me
“You Ought to Be With Me” is a soulful love song by the American singer Al Green, released in 1972. The song features Green’s smooth and emotive vocals, set against a backdrop of warm horns, lush strings, and a gently swaying rhythm section. Its lyrics express a deep and sincere longing for the company of a loved one, with Green urging his partner to return to his arms and share in the joy and warmth of their love. “You Ought to Be With Me” is a classic example of Green’s signature soul sound, and remains a beloved classic in the genre.
3. Look What You Done for Me
“Look What You Done for Me” is a soulful love song performed by Al Green and released in 1972. The song features an upbeat tempo with Green’s smooth, yet powerful vocals, accompanied by a horn section and backing vocals. The lyrics express the narrator’s gratitude and joy for his lover’s impact on his life, declaring that he’s “never been so much in love before” and that she’s changed him for the better. The song became one of Green’s biggest hits, reaching #2 on the Billboard R&B chart and #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Its catchy melody and memorable chorus have made it a beloved classic in the soul music genre.
4. Love and Happiness
“Love and Happiness” is a soul classic by Al Green, released in 1972. The song was a commercial and critical success, reaching number two on the R&B chart and number 98 on the Billboard Hot 100. It has since become a staple of classic soul and R&B radio, as well as being covered by numerous artists. The song’s upbeat tempo, driving rhythm, and catchy hook create an infectious groove that is impossible to resist. Green’s soulful vocals add depth and emotion to the song’s lyrics, which celebrate the joys of love and happiness. The song’s legacy continues to inspire and influence generations of musicians and fans alike.
5. Take Me To the River
“Take Me to the River” is a classic soul song originally recorded by Al Green in 1974. The song is built around a hypnotic groove featuring a steady beat, driving bassline, and bluesy guitar riffs, providing a perfect foundation for Green’s passionate vocals. The lyrics are simple yet evocative, telling the story of a man who longs to be taken to the river, a place where he can find solace and be cleansed of his sins. The song’s memorable hook and powerful delivery have made it a favorite of both soul and rock audiences, with countless covers and adaptations over the years.
6. How Can You Mend a Broken Heart
“How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” is a soulful ballad by Al Green, released in 1972. The song explores the theme of heartbreak and the search for healing and reconciliation. The lyrics are deeply emotional, expressing the pain of loss and the longing for a love that has been lost. The melody is smooth and mellow, perfectly complementing Green’s tender vocals. The song became a hit for Green, reaching number four on the US Billboard Hot 100 and earning him a Grammy nomination. It has since been covered by many other artists and remains a timeless classic in the soul music genre.
7. I Can’t Get Next to You
“I Can’t Get Next to You” is a 1969 hit single by American soul group The Temptations. Written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, the song became a number-one hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 and the US Billboard R&B chart. It features the distinct lead vocals of Dennis Edwards and a driving guitar riff that drives the song’s infectious groove. The song’s lyrics describe the narrator’s frustration and inability to connect with their love interest, despite their best efforts. The song’s catchy melody and upbeat rhythm make it a staple of classic soul music and a timeless example of The Temptations’ signature sound.
8. Back Up Train
“Back Up Train” is a debut single by Al Green released in 1967. The song is a soulful groove with a tight horn section and a funky bassline, which creates an energetic rhythm that showcases Green’s smooth and soulful vocals. The song’s lyrics are about life’s ups and downs and the need to keep moving forward, no matter what obstacles one may encounter. “Back Up Train” was a breakout hit for Green, leading to his signing with Hi Records, and launching his successful career as one of the most iconic and influential soul singers of all time.
9. Tired of Being Alone
“Tired of Being Alone” is a soulful ballad by Al Green, released in 1971. The song features Green’s smooth and emotive vocals set against a simple arrangement of guitar, drums, and strings. The lyrics speak to the feeling of loneliness and the desire for companionship, with Green expressing his longing for someone to share his life with. “Tired of Being Alone” is a quintessential soul track, showcasing Green’s ability to convey deep emotion through his powerful voice, and earning its place as one of his most beloved and enduring hits.
10. Let’s Stay Together
“Let’s Stay Together” is a classic soul song by Al Green, released in 1971. The song became a massive hit, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and staying on the charts for 16 weeks. The song is a celebration of love and commitment, with Green’s smooth vocals and catchy melody capturing the essence of a happy and long-lasting relationship. The song’s enduring popularity has made it a staple of weddings and romantic occasions, and its influence can be heard in countless love songs that followed. In 2010, the Library of Congress added “Let’s Stay Together” to the National Recording Registry, recognizing its cultural significance and enduring impact.