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This song is about an unconditional love where you are determined to stick it out through good times and bad. It's a very popular wedding song.
Al Green wrote this with Al Jackson Jr., and Willie Mitchell. Jackson is a legendary Soul drummer who recorded with Booker T. & the MG's, Mitchell was Green's producer.
This has appeared in such movies as The Ladies' Man, On the Line, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, and Munich. Perhaps the most famous cinematic use of the song was in the scene from the film Pulp Fiction, where it is playing in the background. It's on the stereo in the bar, where we first confront Bruce Willis' poker face while Ving Rhames gives him the "pride only hurts" speech. It's a relatively quiet scene, so the song really has a chance to set the mood.
According to Rolling Stone magazine's Top 500 songs, after Willie Mitchell gave Al Green a rough mix of a tune he and drummer Al Jackson had developed, Green wrote the lyrics in 5 minutes. However, Green didn't want to record the song and for 2 days he argued with Willie Mitchell before finally agreeing to cut it.
In 1984 Tina Turner's cover of this song revitalized her career, returning her to the charts in both the UK & US for the first time for over a decade. (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England, for above 2)
This was used in a television commercial for Tide laundry detergent. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
After explaining how he idolized Al Green growing up in Tennessee, Justin Timberlake sang this with the reverend at the Grammy awards in 2009 with Boyz II Men and Keith Urban joining in the song. This performance was a last-minute addition to the show, as Rihanna and Chris Brown, who were both scheduled to perform, canceled after an altercation the night before.
Barack Obama sang a couple of lines of the song during an appearance on January 19, 2012 at the Apollo Theater in Harlem for a fund-raising event. Al Green was the opening act and as the American president took to the stage, he noted the soul legend's presence in the audience and surprised his staffers close by with an impromptu spot of crooning. "Those guys didn't think I would do it," he joked. "I told you I was going to do it. The Sandman did not come out."
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