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.
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