President George W. Bush had a lot of screw-ups during his eight-year term, but he did do a couple things right. One of them was proclaiming June as Black Music Month on May 31, 2002. June is here,* and to celebrate Black Music Month, I'll be featuring one of my favorite artists each day, sharing my first or most personal memory of them, and explain what their accomplishments are and why I felt they should make the Black Music Month Top 30 list. There will be some oldies, some newbies and some artists you may not know of yet.
Black Music Month Heat Factor "Why's this artist hot?": Reverend Al Green is an R&B legend in his own right. He's managed to live through burns from hot grits being thrown on him by an angry girlfriend, her suicide, a dangerous fall onstage and the ﬁckle music industry. Raised in a church, he took these unfortunate times as a sign to go into ministry. His hardcore fans hung on tight through his ride from soul to gospel back to soul to gospel and back to soul again. With a career spanning from the late '60s to now, he can still get a standing ovation as soon as he walks onstage to perform. From young to old(er) his music is timeless. From "Love and Happiness" to his collaboration with Queen Latifah on "So Beautiful," he's never lost his touch.
First Memory, Most Personal Memory of the Artist: I don't remember the ﬁrst song I liked by Al Green, but he was someone I grew up listening to the same way I did with Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye and Bill Withers. What I do remember is I've always enjoyed seeing him perform live onstage. He passed out roses to women on a "Soul Train" performance, danced across the stage during his performance as the 2008 BET Lifetime Achievement Award honoree and always sang his heart out. I know the words to pretty much all of his hit songs, although one of his current songs "So Beautiful," is my favorite. But frankly seeing him perform any of his music live is a treat. I don't think there will ever be another singer quite like him.
Accomplishments from the Artist: Al Green is no stranger to the charts with releases like 1987's "Soul Survivor” (14 weeks), his 1995 "Greatest Hits" album (29 weeks), 2003's "I Can't Stop" (12 weeks). 2005's "Everything's OK" and 2007's "Deﬁnitive Greatest Hits" (7 weeks), and 2008's Grammy award winning album "Lay It Down" (15 weeks). He started his music career with immediate success, including four '70s hit singles that went gold, "Tired of Being Alone," "Let’s Stay Together," ''I’m Still in Love With You" and "Look What You Done for Me." His albums made the Top 200 Billboard Albums from 1972 to 1975 and the Billboard Top 100 Songs of the Year from 1971-1973 and 1975. His album "Soul Survivor" stayed on the Gospel album charts for 15 weeks and "Stay With Me (By the Sea)" with John Legend spent 21 weeks on the Jazz Songs charts. From 1967 to current day, Al Green has released some hit-or-miss 30 plus albums, including R&B records, full R&B albums and gospel music. In 1995, he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
* This entry was originally published on Associated Content in June of 2010. It has been republished with permission from Shamontiel. To find out who the other 29 artists were who were selected in 2010, visit this Pinterest board.
Follow Shamontiel on Pinterest for all of her latest TV, book, music and movie reviews; photo galleries; entertainment saving tips and other entries, or subscribe to her National African American Entertainment channel at the top of this page. Also, follow her @BlackHealthNews, and follow this Pinterest board to read her celebrity interviews.