Friday, November 21, 2014

Al Green, The #49 Artist of the Seventies*

Al Greene began performing in the Greene Brothers with his brothers at age ten in Arkansas.  The family moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan in the late 50's.  In high school, Al formed the vocal group Al Greene & the Creations, which changed their name to Al Greene & the Soul Mates in 1968.  They recorded "Back Up Train", which became a minor hit on the R&B chart.

Al hooked up with producer Willie Mitchell, who signed Greene to a recording contract with Hi Records.  Al removed the final "e" from his last name, and released the album Green Is Blues.

Next, Green released the album Al Green Gets Next to You, which spawned the single "Tired Of Being Alone".  It was Al's first big hit, climbing to #4 in the U.K. and #11 in the United States.  More important for the bank account, it sold over one million copies.

Green came into his own with the album Let's Stay Together.  The title song and album both went Gold and was a double #1, achieving that feat on both the Popular and R&B charts.

One of the great tracks that Al recorded was this one:  "I've Never Found A Girl".
In 1972, Green released the album I'm Still in Love with You.  He scored two big million-selling hits, the first being "Look What You Done For Me" (#2 R&B, #4 overall). 

The title song reached #3 overall and #1 in the R&B genre, and helped Green achieve his only career Platinum album.

Green followed with the album Call Me, which yielded the hit single "You Ought To Be With Me" (#3 Popular, #1 R&B).  

Al's next release, "Call Me (Come Back Home") gave him his fifth Top 2 R&B hit in the last seven releases, also reaching #10 with the public.

The album generated a third Top 10 song, the only LP of Green's career to stake that claim.  Al continued the magic with "Here I Am (Come And Take Me)".

The album Livin' for You included two Top 10 R&B hits (the title song and "Let's Get Married"), but they were both mid-charters with a mass audience.  We do want to feature this prime track--"Beware".

Green bounced back in 1974 with another Gold single, "Sha La La (Makes Me Happy)" from the album Al Green Explores Your Mind.  The song hit #7 overall, and was another #2 R&B smash.

Al Green Explores Your Mind became the singer's fifth consecutive Gold album.  People who love the Talking Heads song "Take Me To The River" have Al Green to thank for recording the song first.
The following year, Green released the album Al Green Is Love.  The single "L-O-V-E (Love)" landed just outside the Top 10 at #13, and was Al's fifth R&B #1.

That would be the final Top 20 song Green would have until 1988, but he would continue to do well on the R&B chart, with hits that included another #1, "Full of Fire", later in the year.  We want to feature one last solid track from Al's 1976 album Full of Fire--"I'd Fly Away".
By the next decade, Green had left Hi Records for Myrrh Records, became a minister, and recorded only gospel music.

In 1995, Green was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame, and in 2002, earned a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.  Two years later, Green was inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame.  Also in 2004, Green earned a BMI Icon Award.

Green achieved 18 hits in the Seventies, with seven going Top 10.  His sales are a bit low for this portion of the rankings at six million albums sold, but enough to place him at #50*.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.