In the earlier 1970s, Al Green ruled over the r&b and pop charts. “Tired of Being Alone” hit #11 pop/#7 r&b in 1971. This was followed by the classic “Let’s Stay Together” (#1 pop for one week), the first of seven top ten pop singles from 1972 thru 1974. His performance on the r&b chart was even stronger. “Let’s Stay Together” remained on top of that chart for nine weeks. Over the next six years Green placed thirteen more singles in the r&b top ten, including five #1s.
On the album side, he had a handful of gold releases, the last of which was 1973’s Livin’ For You. That album spawned the single “Let’s Get Married” (#32 pop/#3 r&b). Despite what one may infer from its title, “Let’s Get Married” is not a very romantic proposal. His reasoning for suggesting marriage to his girlfriend is that he’s “tired of playing around – a girl in every town.” He sings “let’s get married. Might as well,” adding during the record’s fade-out “Found out I don’t love nobody anyway.”
One woman Green didn’t propose to was his girlfriend at that time, Mary Woodson White. In October of 1974, four months after “Let’s Get Married” peaked on the charts, White, distraught that Green wouldn’t marry her (she was already married, btw), poured a pan of boiling grits on the singer while he was in the shower. She then took his gun and killed herself. Green suffered severe burns on his back, stomach and arms from the incident.
Citing this as a sign that he needed to change his ways, Green became an ordained pastor in 1976 and three years later moved from secular to gospel music.
Today the great Al Green turns 68 years old.