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The Rev. Al Green



Al Green was born April 13, 1946, in Forrest 
City (St. Francis County), Arkansas. St. Francis 
County, located along the Mississippi Delta, is 
one of the most economically depress areas in the 
state, and hence the nation. green was born into 
a large family. When he was 9, he and his brothers 
formed a gospel quartet, the Green Brothers, which 
toured the South. A few years later, the family 
moved to grand Rapids, Mich., and by age 16, he 
formed a pop group, Al Green and the Creations, 
with high school buddies. Two other members of the 
band formed a label and the group cut "Back Up 
train" in 1967. The song hit #5 on the national 
R&B charts, but no further successes followed. 
In 1969, Green met Hi Records VP Willie Mitchell 
and the next year, Hi released Al Green's debut 
solo album, "Green Is Blues." A 3-year string of 
hits followed, including his first gold single, 
"Tired of being Alone," a Green composition, as 
well as "I Can't Get next To You," Let's Stay 
Together" and others. In October 1974 in Memphis, 
an incident wherein a girlfriend poured boiling 
grits on Green while he was in the bathtub and 
then killed herself with his gun caused Green 
to rethink his position. He was hospitalized 
with 2nd-degree burns, and when he emerged, Green 
announced his intention to join the ministry. 

In 1976, he bought a memphis church and was 
ordained pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle 
-- but continued to tour as a soul singer. In 
1977, he built a studio in memphis and began 
producing his own records. During a 1979 concert 
in Cincinnati concert, he fell off the stage, 
again giving Green causing pause, and renewed 
religious fervor. His 1980s albums on the Myrrh 
label are strictly gospel, standards and self-penned. 
In 1982, he appeared on Broadway with Patti LaBelle 
in the gospel musical "Your Arms Too Short To 
Box With God." In 1992, he signed a deal with 
BMG Records (although his albums are available 
only by import in the U.S.) and in 1994 he won 
a Grammy for a duet with Lyle Lovett.

Like Sam Cooke and Otis Redding before him and 
Prince and Michael Jackson after him, Al Green 
represents -- and wrestles with -- the dichotomy 
of the sacred and the profane in music. The sacred 
has mostly won out in recent years; most Sundays, 
you can hear him preach in Memphis -- about 40 miles 
from his Arkansas birthplace.


Official Rev. Al Green Website

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