Al Green Songs Ranked

Albert Leornes Greene (born April 13, 1946), often known as The Reverend Al Green, is an American singer, songwriter, and record producer; he is best known for recording a series of soul hit singles in the early 1970s, including “Take Me to the River”, “Tired of Being Alone”, “I’m Still in Love with You”, “Love and Happiness”, and his signature song, “Let’s Stay Together”. After an incident in which his girlfriend committed suicide, Green became an ordained pastor and turned to gospel music. He later returned to secular music. Green is the winner of 11 Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He has also received the BMI Icon Award and is a Kennedy Center Honors recipient. He was included in the Rolling Stone list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, ranking at No. 65, as well as its list of the 100 Greatest Singers, at No. 14. Here are all of Al Green’s songs ranked.

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20. Sha-La-La (Make Me Happy) (Al Green Explores Your Mind, 1974)

“Magnificent return to full power here by Al after a couple of less inspired singles. Beautiful melody with an exceptional horn-chart and superb warm vocal, this one really does get down in your bones.”

19. I Want To Hold Your Hand (Cover Me Green, 1995)

“Most of the components of his trademark sound are there, the solid back beat, controlled horns and economical guitar licks, although whether this is the right song for the ensemble is debatable. In fact probably the best thing about it is Al’s euphoric moaning before the intro proper.”

18. Simply Beautiful (I’m Still in Love with You, 1972)

” Simply Beautiful is strikingly intimate and sensual from a sonic standpoint, even more so than the stuff off his previous album (it sounds like it was made while he was making love or engaging in some other kind of romancing!).”

17. Call Me (Come Back Home) (Call Me, 1973)

“Another piece of sultry Southern soul from Al, it subtly and persuasively explores your mind. Hypnotic drum beat, wistful backing vocals, muted horns, this is one of Al’s more reflective numbers and none the worse for it.

See more: Al Green Albums Ranked

16. Livin’ for You (Livin’ for You, 1973)

“Maybe, just maybe, Al was settling into a formula, with this track resonating slightly less than some of its predecessors. However, it still cuts a mean groove under the magic touch of producer Willie Mitchell, but ultimately lacks the extra spark which fuelled his earlier hits.”

15. I Can’t Get Next To You (Al Green Gets Next to You, 1971)

“The real Al steps out of the shadows after a couple of fairly nondescript singles with this slow-burning take on the great Whitfield-Strong hit, sung so brilliantly by the Temptations only a year or so earlier. Al’s ambition was obviously burning bright in channelling the multi-vocal original into his solo vocal track but he does so brilliantly with his soon to be familiar moans coming to the fore.”

14. How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (Let’s Stay Together, 1972)

“Al Green’s cover of “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” is a great example of when a cover surpasses the original version. The Bee Gees version of this is one of their cheesiest songs. It came between their late 60s psych pop, and their disco-era revival period, and as a result is stranded in early-70’s MOR hell.”

13. Funny How Time Slips Away (Call Me, 1973)

“His voice is so damn slithery! And back down with the second country cover; this time Al’s rendition of Willie Nelson’s “Funny How Time Slips Away”. Incredibly playful vocals in spite of the gentle nature of the song.”

12. Look What You Done for Me (I’m Still in Love with You, 1972)

“The components are wondrous, comprising the drums, organ and electric piano, guitar, backing vocals and of course the marriage of strings and horns over which the Reverend Al presides and joins together in soully-wedded matrimony.”

11. Put It On Paper (Love Songs, 2003)

“I have always enjoyed the richness of his voice. When he sing he owns the song. If he had better song selection, Al Green would own the airways. “

10. Everything’s Gonna Be Alright (Soul Survivor, 1987)

“By the time of this album’s original release, Al Green had long since abandoned R&B music and devoted himself exclusively to Gospel but this album was contemporary enough to appeal to a mainstream R&B audience and the uplifting, gorgeous and hopeful “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” became a major hit on both the Gospel and R&B charts.”

9. For The Good Times (I’m Still in Love with You, 1972)

“Another offbeat cover by Al Green in which he slows down Kris Kristofferson’s country standard and attempts to pump some southern soul into its po’ white ass.”

8. I’m Still In Love With You (I’m Still in Love with You, 1972)

“Even for him the vocal is exceptional as the song brilliantly unwinds from its teasing, tentative beginnings but when that drumbeat kicks in just as Al gets wrapped up in love it effortlessly moves to a different dimension with that irresistible cool blast of the horns just completing the spell.”

7. You Ought to Be With Me (Call Me, 1973)

“You Ought to Be with Me” epitomizes the new sound that R&B musicians were exploring in the early 70s. Combining a driving beat and horn lines with never-before-heard chord progressions, Al Green’s band came up with something really original.”

See more: Peter Green Albums Ranked

6. Tired of Being Alone (Al Green Gets Next to You, 1971)

“Stunningly emotional music, which barely needs more than a few repeated phrases to work. It grabs you from the first few bars and all it needs to do from that point on is to keep the pact. One of the earliest hits from Green, it went to #11 on Billboard pop and #7 on the R&B charts. However, its biggest success came in the UK, where it peaked at #4.”

5. Love and Happiness (I’m Still in Love with You, 1972)

“What can I say, another superb slow-roller from Al and his Hi-rollers. Kicks in beautifully with that propulsive little guitar lick, the organ setting the chilled groove while Al does his inimitable thing/thang up and down the scale with the horns taking over for the fade.”

4. Belle (The Belle Album, 1977)

“Al’s first music divorced from the superb production skills of Willie Mitchell was the “Belle” album, from which the title track was released as the first single. The lyric outlines the age old conflict between the secular and the sacred as Al pours it out to the lady of the title, letting her down as gently as he can with “It’s you that I want but it’s Him that I need”.”

3. Full of Fire (Full of Fire 1976)

“The melody swings under the easy impetus of Al Jackson’s wonderful drumming making it easy for Al to coast along on top, but it’s that stunning fade which provides the perfect finale when Al lets the band off the leash for the last minute especially when the guitars join the fray and fully live up to the song’s title.”

2. Here I Am (Come and Take Me) (Call Me 1973)

“Al Green kept his run of classic tracks going with this rock-solid, gospel-soaked ballad, which features all the trademark traits of the Hi Sound created by the great Willie Mitchell. This one’s more about the drum than anything else, while the lyric, like so many of his, could be addressed to his Maker as much as to his girl, the vocal; superb, naturally.”

1. Let’s Stay Together (Let’s Stay Together, 1972)

“The towering pinnacle of Al Green’s immaculate early-seventies run, “Let’s Stay Together” is one of the finest examples of southern soul ever recorded. Green had previously earned praise for his fantastic vocal work, but it was “Let’s Stay Together” that ultimately brought his music to a much wider audience than ever before.”