Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1971 Al Green – Tired Of Being Alone

1971 Al Green – Tired Of Being Alone

Albert Leornes Greene was born into an Arkansas family that included nine other brothers and sisters. When he was ten, he joined the other young men in the family and began singing as a member of The Greene Brothers. His family moved to Michigan a few years later. When Al got caught listening to secular music by Jackie Wilson, Al’s religious father kicked him out of the house. He lived on the streets and then with a prostitute and became all too familiar with drugs.

Al formed a group while still in high school, Al Greene & the Creations. Two of the other members of the group formed their own record label. The group got renamed, and in 1967, Al Greene and the Soul Mates recorded Back Up Train, which turned into a surprise hit. The single reached #5 on the R&B chart and peaked at #41 on the Hot 100. None of the other records they recorded for the label repeated that success.

Willie Mitchell began his career as a trumpet player and became a bandleader and record producer based in Memphis. He took over the Hi Records label and hired Al to sing in a show in Texas in 1969. The performance convinced him to sign Al to a contract and begin training him to sing better. He also got Al to remove the last ‘e’ from his name, leaving his name as Al Green.

Al and Willie produced a cover of the Temptations hit I Can’t Get Next To You. His single reached #11 on the R&B chart but only got to #60 on the Hot 100 in 1970.

Al had written another song, Tired Of Being Alone, that was intended for his first solo album in 1969, but he and Willie decided that something had gone wrong when it was recorded and it was left off that album. Willie produced a second version of the song in 1971 that they were both satisfied with. The final single reached #11 on the Hot 100 and #7 on the R&B chart that year and sold over a million copies.

Al’s next single was the chart-topping Lets Stay Together, after which his career took off. By the time his hit singles slowed up in 1977, Al had already recorded six more singles that reached the top ten on the Hot 100 and five more records that topped the R&B chart.

Al became a minister and began only recording gospel music. That change paid off in a big way: he won eight Grammy awards for Gospel recordings.

Al recorded a secular record again when he cut a duet with Annie Lennox in 1988, Put A Little Love In Your Heart. The single reached the top ten on the Hot 100 and #2 on the Adult Contemporary chart, but completely missed the R&B chart. He continued recording secular music again, although his remaining singles only reached the R&B chart.

Al has been nominated for 21 Grammy Awards and has collected 11 wins. They inducted him into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 1995.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Green
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Green_discography

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Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1970 Charles Wright and The Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band – Love Land

Charles Wright grew up in Mississippi and moved to Los Angeles in the early fifties. He joined several doo-wop groups in the fifties, singing and playing guitar. Charles got hired as the A&R Director for Del-Fi Records. Little Caesar & the Romans signed with the label and recorded the single, Those Oldies but Goodies (Remind Me of You). Charles played both piano and bass on the recording. The single peaked at #9 on the Hot 100 in 1961.

A year later, Charles formed Charles Wright & the Wright Sounds, a band that included Daryl Dragon, who would later play in the touring band of the Beach Boys and become the Captain of The Captain and Tenille.

Los Angeles-based Fred Smith owned Keymen Records and produced a theme song for LA disk jockey Magnificent Montague. The theme song became so popular that Fred produced a single version of the theme song in 1967 using Charles and several other studio musicians. The label credited the fictional group Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band. Another (unrelated) version came out later on a different label credited to the Soul Runners.

Bill Cosby needed some musicians to play background music for his next album, and he hired another group of studio musicians that included Charles. That group of musicians was again labeled as The Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band. Cosby went on tour with some of those musicians.

Fred and Charles did not agree on how to proceed with the group, and Fred sold his share of the group to Charles, who immediately sacked the members of the band and reformed with musicians who had played with him in the Wright Sounds.

Thanks to his association with Cosby, Charles was able to sign his reformed group with Warner Brothers Records. The group released the album Together in 1968. The single Do Your Thing by The Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band peaked at #11 on the Hot 100 that year.

Several less successful singles followed until Charles Wright and The Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band released the single Love Land., a cover of a  1959 song by Al Hibbler. The band’s single reached #16 on the Hot 100 and #23 on the R&B chart in 1970.

The group next released their most successful single, Express Yourself, which Charles wrote and produced. The single peaked at only #12 on the Hot 100 but reached #3 on the R&B chart. Even better, the recording went on to be sampled on the 1989 album Straight Outta Compton and many films have used the song on their soundtracks.

The band no longer had hit records after that hit, and members began leaving for other gigs. Charles returned to putting out solo singles and albums in 1972. His most recent album came out in 2007.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Wright_%26_the_Watts_103rd_Street_Rhythm_Band
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Caesar_%26_the_Romans
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Express_Yourself_(Charles_Wright_%26_the_Watts_103rd_Street_Rhythm_Band_song)

My books are on sale on Amazon (or free with Kindle Unlimited) and contain a lot more Lost or Forgotten Oldies. You can visit my author page to see them and you can read them for free with Kindle Unlimited!