“Let’s Stay Together” The Al Green Story

The topic I chose to do this blog post on is Al Greens’ “Let’s Stay Together”.  Al Green wrote the song with Al Jackson Jr. in five minutes after Willie Mitchel gave him a rough mix of the tune.  Al Green didn’t want to record the song at first, after arguing with Willie for two days he agreed to record the song.  The song “Let’s Stay Together” was the first number one song for Al Green.  The song was the turning point of his career, after “Let’s Stay Together” he produced another smash hit “Still In Love With You”.  The song “Let’s Stay Together” not only influenced that generation of the 70’s, it  has spanned across decades of generations even today’s heavily Pop influenced millenniums.  Justin Timberlake, who was influenced by Al Green, performed the song “Let’s Stay Together” with Al Green and Boy’s II Men at the 2009 Grammy awards. The artist Tina Turner did a cover of the song on her “Private Dancer” album after it was suggested that she cover the song by “Heaven 17” members Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh.

 The one obvious and most talked about unique characteristic of Al Green is his departure from secular music to devote his self to religion.  After his departure from secular music Al Green purchased his own church where he was the pastor and a Gospel singer.  Al green would eventually return to secular music in 1993, he recorded a duet with Lyle Lovett called “How Time Slips Away”.  Another unique thing about Al Green is that he was burned severely by a pot of grits.  In 1974 while exiting his bathtub his girlfriend poured a boiling pot of grits on him causing second degree burns to his back and arms.  Although his career suffered a severe setback from this incident, he would eventually recover and record another album “Full Of Fire” in 1976.

 The reason why I chose to do this post on “Let’s Stay Together” is because even though it’s not my generational music, I could listen to this song over and over again and love it as much as the first time I heard it.  By no means am I a singer, and I usually don’t sing along to songs.  Every time that this song is played I get to belting out the lyrics like I was in the studio singing right along with Al Green.  As an industry professional, the route Al Green took to carve out his path in the industry inspires me.  He just kept pushing on until he discovered whom he was and didn’t get discouraged in the process.  To me this speaks volumes to his character; despite the ups and downs he stayed true to his self.

 Despite me taking a course on music production, and doing very well with no prior musical training, I am not interested in producing music.  When it comes to the music industry I am an artist down to my soul.  While I enjoy all the things I have learned most of it is just more tools that I have in my journey towards my real path, which is a mixing engineer.  So after graduating Full Sail I plan on continuing my education and attending a school that focus more on mixing the music so I can become stronger in that aspect of music.  In an earlier class I was asked what I really liked about music, my answer to that question was the way that the music is mixed down.  The placement of the instruments, and the added effects is what I give the most attention to in any composition.  I really don’t hear chords, key signatures and things of that nature, when I listen to music I hear panning, compression, reverb, and those types of things.  So down the road I see my self as a mixing engineer with an arsenal of music knowledge to back me up.


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