With eleven Grammy Awards, including the Grammy lifetime achievement award under his belt, it’s easy to see why Al Green is commonly referred to as “The Last of the Great Soul Singers.” Al Green became popular in the 1970s after several hit singles, including his signature song, “Let’s Stay Together.” With his tender vocals and incredible songwriting skills, Al Green reinvigorated soul music with some of the best love songs ever. His career started in high school after he formed a vocal group known as Al Greene & the Creations, which featured Curtis Rodgers and Palmer James, who created a record label by the name Hot Line Music Journal. The group later changed their name to Al Greene and the Soul Mates before releasing their first song, “Back Up Train.” Green’s unique voice was noticed by Willie Mitchell, who convinced him to join his band for a show in Texas.
Mitchel became Green’s vocal mentor and helped him find his own voice. In 1969 Green released the album Green Is Blues which was essential in putting him on the map. His second album, Al Green Gets Next to You, followed in 1971, and it was a massive success. The album contained his first major hit, “Tired of Being Alone,” which was his first among eight other tracks to be certified gold between 1971 and 1974. In 1972, he released the album, Let’s Stay Together, which confirmed his status as a real icon in soul music. The track “Let’s Stay Together” peaked at the top position on the Billboard Hot 100, and it is arguably his greatest hit to date. Al Green has released 29 studio albums, his latest album being Lay It Down, which was released in 2008. The album featured guest vocals from the likes of John Legend and Anthony Hamilton and was a clear indication that Al Green still got it. The album would usher a brand new generation of Al Green fans, proving what a remarkable artist he was. Let’s count down the top ten best Al Green songs of all time.
10. L-O-V-E (Love)
At the number ten position is this 1975 single, which continued Al Green’s number one hits during the 1970s. L-O-V-E is the first track on his LP dubbed Al Green Is Love. The track peaked at position one on the R&B charts, where it remained for two weeks and reached position thirteen on the pop singles chart.
9. You Ought to Be With Me
Al Green clearly deserves to be referred to as “The Last of the Great Soul Singers.” “You Ought to Be With Me” is contained in his sixth studio album, Call Me, and the track was a top-three hit in the US, selling over a million copies. The track peaked at position three in the US Billboard Hot 100 and position one on the US Billboard Hot Soul Singles.
8. Look What You Done for Me
“Look What You Done for Me” is Al Green at his soulful best. The lyrics are amazing, and Al Greene’s vocals are sung purely from his heart. The song peaked at position four on the Billboard 100 and has been certified gold by the RIAA.
7. Love and Happiness
This track is one of Al Green’s finest recordings which talks about his gospel roots. The track features some nice background vocals that are similar to those of a preacher and a church choir that is responding. The track peaked at position 104 on the pop charts and position 82 on the R&B charts.
6. Take Me To the River
It seems Al Green took the title of this track close to his heart, considering it is also the title for his autobiography, which was released in 2000. The track was a dedication to his distant cousin Little Junior Parker who wrote and recorded Elvis Presley’s signature tune, Mystery Train.
5. How Can You Mend a Broken Heart
A year after the Bee Gees released this hit song, AL Green released his own tear-jerking version of this song which most people will agree that it was the most definitive. Al Green’s version of the song was used as a soundtrack for the 1997 movie Good Will Hunting, and it’s one of the most beautiful songs you will ever listen to.
4. I Can’t Get Next to You
The number four song in our list of the best Al Green songs of all time is the number one track from his 1871 album, Al Green Gets Next to You. This track gave Al Green a lot of inspiration to find his way into the pulpit. Isn’t it quite ironic that the album Al Green Gets Next to You has a song by the name “I Can’t Get Next to You?”
3. Back Up Train
“Back Up Train” is the first track from Al Green’s debut album, which was one of his most significant records ever, which he released alongside the group AL Greene & the Soulmates. The song was released in 1967 and was the most popular song from the album. The track was a local and national hit, and the group’s performance at the Harlem Apollo was life-changing and laid the foundation for Al Green’s success as a soul music artist.
2. Tired of Being Alone
The number two song in our list of the greatest Al Green songs of all time is a song that Rolling Stone ranked at position 293 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All-Time. The track is a heartfelt love song with beautiful lyrics, and Al Green’s vocals, along with the backup singers, will evoke your emotions anytime you listen to it.
1. Let’s Stay Together
“Let’s Stay Together” is arguably Al Green’s signature song and one of the greatest love songs of all time. The track has been covered by numerous artists, including Tina Turner, and was ranked at position 11 on Billboard’s Best Songs of 1972. The track has been certified gold in the US and platinum in the UK. The song has been featured in several films, most notably the Quentin Tarantino 1994 film Pulp Fiction.