Happy Birthday to soul legend Al Green who celebrates his 74th birthday today (April 13th)!!! In 2014, Green was among the recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors from President Obama at a gala performance in Washington, D.C.'s Kennedy Center. Tribute performances included Earth, Wind, & Fire on “I Can’t Get Next To You,” “Love and Happiness,” and Jennifer Hudson on “Simply Beautiful.” Usher performed “Let’s Stay Together,” and Mavis Staples and Sam Moore teamed up with a choir to duet on “Take Me To The River.”
In 2008 Green released Lay It Down, his third album since returning to secular music in 2003 with I Can't Stop, which reunited him with his longtime collaborator and producer, the late-Willie Mitchell. Green and Mitchell collaborated on most of Green's biggest hits from the '70s like “Let's Stay Together” and “I'm Still In Love With You.” In 2010, Green's 1974 classic, “Take Me To The River” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Al Green, who's been an ordained minister since 1976, was asked if he ever thought he would have attained so much in his lifetime: “No, I never did think . . . I'm a sharecropper's son. I'm nobody. I have a little bag of songs over here, I've got a bible over here, and that's all I got. People come out, remember these songs better than me, and some of the songs are older than the people, so I think that I am blessed.”
He told us that although he's not judging today's musical talent, one thing is clear to him — it is very different from the pop-R&B sounds of the mid-'60's: “Today's music is a whole different animal from the Four Tops, or from the Temptations or Martha Reeves & The Vandellas or the Supremes. It's talking, more talking as a rap style — and I'm not jumping up and down on our kids. Because, no matter what you think of them, or no matter what I think, they are our — I said underline our — offspring.”
Green acknowledges that some of his fans turned their back on him in 2003 when he went back to releasing secular music. He says that he can't worry about the select group of fans who have a problem with him being both a gospel and a soul artist: “You gotta be yourself. I can't be nobody else. I have to be Al. I'm a gospel preacher, and I sing R&B rhythm and blues, and I sing gospel songs too. I'm just Al, and that's all I really wanna be. I don't really wanna be… Can't nobody beat me being myself.”
Back in 2005 it was announced that a feature film based on Green's life was heading to the big screen starring former-ER leading man Mekhi Phifer, but so far there has been no word on if and when production will begin.