Al Green

Whenever people talk about the greatest singers of all time, Al Green's name is invariably mentioned. He first appeared on stage with family gospel group, the Green Brothers, when he was nine, but was reputedly kicked out of the group by his deeply religious father when he was caught listening to the "devil's music" of Jackie Wilson. So when he was 16, he formed an R&B group, Al Green & the Creations with schoolfriends. They later changed their name to Soul Mates before releasing their first single Back Up Train, which became a surprise R&B hit in 1968. Their subsequent records flopped, but Green's extraordinarily expressive voice had been noticed by bandleader Willie Mitchell, who masterminded his debut album Green Is Blues. It was the follow-up Al Green Gets Next To You in 1970, however, which triggered his long string of classic soul records like Tired Of Being Alone, Let's Stay Together and I'm Still In Love With You. After being attacked by an ex-girlfriend who subsequently committed suicide, Green became an ordained pastor and since then has concentrated on gospel music. In 1988, however, he duetted with Annie Lennox on Put A Little Love In Your Heart for the film Scrooged and he returned to the charts in 2008 with the album Lay It Down, which included guest appearances by John Legend and Corinne Bailey Rae.

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