7 of Al Green's greatest songs

10 April 2018, 17:13

Al Green

Al Green is one of the world's greatest soul singers, emerging in the 1970s with a truly stunning voice.

Now known as The Reverend Al Green, he has released 29 albums over the decades, and we always love playing his soulful tunes.

Here are the very best songs to make the perfect Al Green playlist...

1. 'Tired of Being Alone'

This soul classic was first recorded in 1968, but problems occurred with the first tape, and so it was postponed. It was later altered and perfected the second time.

Released in 1971, it was one of Al's first big hits around the world. Scottish band Texas later had their own hit with a cover in 1992.

2. 'How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?'

The Bee Gees first released this mellow love song in 1971, and it was already a hit for the Brothers Gibb.

A year later, Al transformed it into a pained and tearjerking six-minute soul ballad, and some may say this is the definitive version.

3. 'Let's Stay Together'

Taken from his 1972 album of the same name, this is perhaps Al's most famous tune and signature song.

It reached number one in the States, and it has been covered by countless artists ever since. Even US President Barack Obama gave it a go, performing a brief line of the song during an appearance at the Apollo Theater in New York in 2012, where Al was also performing.

4. 'Love and Happiness'

Various writers have named this Al Green's best ever song, and it was co-written with longtime collaborator Teenie Hodges.

Al later said of the song: "It was like mixing explosive chemicals — everything had to be added at just the right time and at just the right dose. The tempo was the most important thing to Willie, and, if you listen close, you can hear Teenie counting off with his foot on a cardboard box for the take that nailed it."

5. 'L-O-V-E (Love)'

Not to be confused with the Nat King Cole song of the same name, this gave Al another hit in 1975.

The single was produced by Willie Mitchell, who also co-wrote the song along with Al and Mabon Hodges.

6. 'Put a Little Love in Your Heart' (with Annie Lennox)

Originally a 1969 song by Jackie DeShannon, Al returned to non-gospel music in 1988 with a cover version alongside Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox.

The song was recorded for the Bill Murray movie Scrooged, and it features prominently during the end credits. 

7. 'Take Me To the River'

Al later used the title of this song as the name of his autobiography in 2000. Talking Heads were among the many artists to cover the track in later years.

Featured on the 1974 album Al Green Explores Your Mind, Al dedicated his performance on the album to "...Little Junior Parker, a cousin of mine, he's gone on but we'd like to kinda carry on in his name..".