Artist Spotlight: Al Greene

Al Greene, or better known as Reverend Al Greene is a songwriter, record producer, and an American singer who is best known for recording many hit singles in the early 1970s. His hits include “Love and Happiness,” “Im still in Love with You,” and his most popular, “Let’s Stay Together.” In 1955, Al was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and was seen as being one of the most gifted soul music artists. He is often referred to as one of “The Last Great Soul Singers.”

Born in Arkansas, he was the sixth of ten children, he was born on April 13,1946 as Albert Leornes Greene. Al started performing at the tender age of 10 with his brothers as part of a band called, The Greene Brothers. His family relocated to Michigan during his teen years and Al was then kicked out of his family when his father caught him listening to Jackie Wilson, having come from a religious background, his father prohibited him from listening to Jackie.

Greene would go on to listen to many gospel singers such as Mahalia Jackson as well as the music that was important to him, such as Wilson Pickett and Elvis Presley. Al would perform in high school as part of a group called Al Greene and the Creations. Two of the groups members would create an independent label called Hot Line Music Journal. They would go on to record the song Back up Train and release it through the label. The song would later be a hit on the R&B charts.

Greenes place in soul music would be solidified when he would drop his most successful album, Let’s Stay Together. The track was the biggest to date and reached number one on both the billboard hot 100 and R&B charts. The album would become certified gold and his following albums would rock the top ten. His following album, Im Still in Love With You would reach platinum along with the help of such singles as “Look What You Done for Me” and the title track. His following album released in 1973, Livin’ for You was his final album to be certified gold.

Reverend Al Greene would release his first Gospel album in 1980 titled, The Lord Will Make a Way. The title song would later win him his first Grammy Award as the bet Gospel Soul Performance. Green would return to secular music in 1988 and would make a hit in 1989 with “The Message is Love” with producer Arthur Baker. Recently, Al Greene has been recording and in 2010 performed his most famous song “Lets Stay Together”.

Al Greene would become one of Andrés idols, his mother loved him as well. She would always mention that he had a silky-smooth voice. “I would listen to him over and over again. I would even get in the mirror and sing “Let’s Stay Together.” He had a unique sound, a soulful sound that I had not heard before. I remember seeing him on TV, he was the ultimate entertainer, I often thought he was looking at me. What I know, is that there is only one Al Greene, my hopes are that one day we will be on stage together. That would be a dream come true.”