Chart Performance: R&B(#1 for 9 weeks) & Pop(#1) ; 1972
Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne
In early 1968, Al Greene and The Soul Mate’s were in the R&B Top 5 with Back Up
Train and fresh off an enthusiastic reception at Harlem’s famous Apollo Theater. Unfortunately, the Train ride was soon over and Al found himself on an endless road of one-nighters. At a gig in Midland, Texas, he met up with Willie Mitchell, who took Al into his Memphis studio. Their first few efforts together bombed before I Can’t Get Next To You and Tired Of Being Alone caught fire. Mitchell and drummer Al Jackson then sketched out the music for the next single and Al tossed off the Let’s Stay Together lyrics in five minutes, but refused to record it for a couple of days. Once he got Al behind the mic, Willie kept bugging him to sing the song softer until Al gave in out of frustration. The effort paid off. Let’s Stay Together quickly got a hammerlock on the top R&B slot, and held onto it for nine weeks, making it the top chart performer of 1972.
This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.
- Willie Mitchell
Lyrics Written by:
- Al Green
- Willie Mitchell
- Al Jackson Jr.
- Grammy Awards: Al Greene won two Grammy Awards for tracks on the album that features “Let’s Stay Together.” He won Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for “You’ve Got the Love I Need” and Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male for “Stay with Me” (1971)
- Billboard Chart Success: “Let’s Stay Together” was a number 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 for 16 weeks and topped the R&B chart for nine weeks. Billboard ranked it as the 11th best song (1972)
- Library of Congress National Recording Registry: “Let’s Stay Together” was chosen for the National Recording Registry in 2010 by the Library of Congress for its cultural and historical importance.
- Rolling Stone Ranking: Ranked as the 60th greatest song of all time on the 2004 list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.