Green was born in Arkansas to a family of sharecroppers. His birth name was Albert Greene.
He formed a Gospel quartet in the mid-1950s with his brothers. They were called the Green Brothers. Al was kicked out when his father caught him listening to Jackie Wilson.
He cut his first single as Al Green and the Soul Mates on a label, Hot Line Music Journal, founded by his high school friends, Curtis Rogers and Palmer James.
Green was signed to Hi Records by their vice president, Willie Mitchell, who also produced and co-wrote many of Green's songs.
In October 1974, Green brought home two woman he had been seeing: his sometimes girlfriend Mary Woodson, and a stewardess named Carlotta Williams. It didn't go well, and when Green took a bath, Woodson poured the boiling grits she was making on him, inflicting second degree burns to the singer. As Williams tended him, Woodson killed herself with his gun. Green, who became a born-again Christian in 1973, interpreted this as a sign from God to join the ministry.
Another sign from God: In 1979, Green fell off a Cincinnati stage and was almost injured badly. He decided it was time to stop performing secular music.
As of 1976, not only did Green own his own Memphis church, he was a fully ordained pastor with the Full Gospel Tabernacle Church.
In 1995, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, Frank Zappa, Neil Young, and the Allman Brothers Band. Natalie Cole was his presenter.
He cites Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers as major influences.
Drummer Al Jackson, of Booker T. & the MG's fame, played with Al Green several times and even co-wrote some of his material.
He won his first Grammy in 1982 for Best Traditional Soul Gospel Performance for the album The Lord Will Make a Way.
To delight his female fans on his Summer Tour 2003, Al Green ordered 24 long-stem dethroned roses on stage, which he could distribute. Good thinking taking out the thorns.