Al Green (born Albert Leornes Greene, April 13, 1946) is an American singer, songwriter and record producer widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in the history of soul and gospel music. Born in Forrest City, Arkansas to the missionaries Willie Mae and Robert G. Greene, his family moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan when he was nine years old. As a child, Green started singing in the church with his siblings, and was encouraged by his father to take piano lessons.
By the time Green was thirteen, he had started his own quartet called The Greene Brothers, which gained popularity around their hometown and eventually landed them two recordings. After high school, Green joined Mitchell's Starrlighters, which allowed him to gain lots of experience performing in clubs. He would later join Sam and Dave as an accompanist and vocalist on their hit records "I Take What I Want" and "Hold On! I'm A-Comin". Green's next move was to establish his own record label, Hi Records. This label arose with the assistance of Green's friend, Teenie Hodges.
At Hi Records, Green released his first successful album, Green Is Blues, in 1967 which featured the hit single "I Can't Get Next to You". His self-titled album, Al Green (1969), would also reach stardom with the help of the hit single "Tired of Being Alone," which propelled Green into the national spotlight. In the early 1970s, he shifted musical styles from Southern soul to a gospel-influenced version of soul music and recorded major hits, such as "Let's Stay Together," "Here I Am (Come and Take Me)," and "Love and Happiness." In 1971, Green won the Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.
Throughout the decade, Green recorded and released over fifteen singles and seven albums. He continued to create a massive fan base within the community of soul and gospel music lovers. During this time, he also performed as a member of the Soul Stirrers, a gospel quartet. While still at Hi Records, Green first launched a string of gospel albums beginning with The Lord Will Make a Way, which sold over one million copies.
His success with gospel music earned him a nomination for the Gospel Music Association's highest accolade, the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Green crossed from the secular to the spiritual world with his to his 1973 Grammy Award-winning album Call Me. He elected to leave secular music and hi Records at the peak of his career and went professional. During his long career he has been honored with six Grammy awards, 24 Grammy nominations, a Soul Train Music Icon Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013, a Voice Legend Award for Contemporary Gospel in 1993 and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.
In 2006, Gospel Music Hall of Fame inducted Green, along with 14 other notable gospel artists, for his achievements and influence as a singer, songwriter and producer. Green has been best known within both religious and secular circles for engaging themes of faith and spirit.
Today, Al Green is a well-respected musician whose work continues to influence generations of new musicians. In addition to maintaining a consistent touring schedule, he works as an evangelist, produces his own records, and teaches at the gospel music studio that he established. Through his unique style of music and enduring legacy, Greene has inspired and influenced a vast number of people. For these reasons, he is considered a legendary figure in the entertainment world, and will always be remembered for the timeless art that he has created over the years.