Never Be Untrue

Al Green recorded ‘Let’s Stay Together’ for his 1972 album with the same name.  This song reached #1 on the US charts and it went to #7 in the UK.  Al Green wrote the lyrics and the music was written by Al Jackson Jr., and Willie Mitchell.  Al Green is also known as The Reverend Al Green, as he gas devoted his life to God after his ex-girlfriend committed suicide.  He recorded 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’.  Green was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and he is ranked at #65 on the Rolling Stone list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.  Al Green had a #2 hit singing ‘Put A Little Love In Your Heart’, a duet with Annie Lennox in 1988.

It was also ranked the sixtieth greatest song of all time by ‘Rolling Stone magazine’ on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  It was selected by the Library of Congress as a 2010 addition to the National Recording Registry, which selects recordings annually that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.  The song went on to claim the number-one position on the Billboard Year-End chart as an R&B song for 1972.  ‘Let’s Stay Together’ was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999, the song has been covered by Tina Turner, Al Jarreau, Chaka Khan, Maroon 5, and even President Barack Obama.

In 1967, Al recorded a gentle ballad ‘Back Up Train’ that hit #5 on the R&B chart, and in 1969 he met Willie Mitchell when he was the opening act for his Band at a club in Midland, Texas.  Willie Mitchell was a veteran of the national stage, and his band was seeking a vocalist who shared their sense of style.  Al needed a ride, so he hopped in the van with them and headed to Memphis.  Willie had been producing for Hi Records and he invited Al to come there and become a star.  Al asked how long that would take and Willie said 18 months.  Al declined the offer, saying he didn’t have that long to wait.  He hopped out at a crossroads going north, after borrowing travel money from Willie.

Some months passed, and one morning when Willie was renovating his kitchen, when the carpenter showed up and said, “Don’t you remember me?”  Turns out, it was Albert Green whose career had been going no place, and he was finally ready to give Willie a try.  A year and a half later (as Willie predicted), Al was on the pop charts.  In 1972, he broke huge with ‘Let’s Stay Together’, and the album and became the first of six albums to peak at #1 on the soul album chart.  Green and Mitchell, along with the session players keyboardist Archie “Hubbie” Turner, drummer Al Jackson, Jr., percussionist Howard Grimes, guitarist Mabon “Teenie” Hodges, bassist Leroy Hodges, and organist Charles Hodges who were known as The Hi Rhythm Section, were committed to creating chemistry with each other and taking their time on the music.  Clearly their method worked, because the first song to come after that conversation was Green’s enduring signature record, ‘Let’s Stay Together’.  This song started with Mitchell giving Green a rough cut of a tune he’d written, and supposedly it only took Green between 5 and 15 minutes to write the lyrics.  Green didn’t feel ready to record the song, so it took two days of Mitchell badgering him and about 100 takes before he got one that he liked, and even then, he wasn’t sure the song was any good.  It was Mitchell who set him straight, telling him it “had magic on it.”  Green put his heavenly voice on tape, but Green wasn’t giving Mitchell what he wanted.  Willie told him, “Don’t try to handle the song, Al.  Just let the song happen.  Just let it happen.  Just let it ooze out.”

Let’s stay together

I’m, I’m so in love with you
Whatever you want to do
Is alright with me
‘Cause you make me feel so brand new
And I want to spend my life with you

Let me say that since, baby
Since we’ve been together
Loving you forever
Is what I need
Let me be the one you come running to
I’ll never be untrue

Oh, baby, let’s, let’s stay together
Loving you whether, whether
Times are good or bad, happy or sad

Whether times are good or bad, happy or sad

Why, somebody, why people break-up
Oh, turn around and make-up
I just can’t see
You’d never do that to me
Would you, baby?
Just being around you is all I see

Here’s what I want us to do

Let’s, we ought to stay together
Loving you whether, whether
Times are good or bad, happy or sad
Come on

Let’s, let’s stay together
Loving you whether, whether
Times are good or bad, happy or sad

Written for Bee’s Love Is In Da Blog 22 where today we are asked to find a Love Song from 1972.

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