Green Light

Album: Evolver (2008)
Charted: 35 24

Songfacts®:

  • This song features rapper André 3000 from OutKast.
  • This was co-written by Rick Nowels ("Heaven Is A Place On Earth," "White Flag").
  • Legend explained to MTV News: "The song is simple. It's just me trying to pick up a girl at a club and convince her to come have some fun with me."
  • Legend told The Daily Mail October 10, 2008: "It just happened, I didn't plan to write a club track."
  • Legend's circle were initially worried about this being the first single to be taken from Evolver. He explained to MTV News: "Some people in my camp were kinda afraid. Man, you've been known as the midtempo-ballad guy. People have seen you on the piano all this time. I don't know if you can come with this uptempo joint with Andre on it. It's gonna throw people off.' I felt like the record spoke for itself. It could get played on all the stations, people would love it in the clubs, and I wanted to make a statement that this album would sound a bit different."
  • Andre 3000 also made a rare music video appearance as does the UK singer Estelle, who is managed by Legend. The singer-songwriter told MTV News about the OutKast member's contribution to the promo: "Well, Andre, he really loved the song 'Green Light.' He wanted to be a part of it and was proud of his contribution, so he was down to do the video. I was honored. I know he doesn't do a lot of collaborations these days. I know he doesn't do a lot of guest appearances. He chose to do it with my song. I'm grateful, and he helped make the video what it was. He's a creative talent, great performer. We got on the phone and did a conference call before the video. He had a lot of ideas for the video. We had a good time. The people we hired - as far as the extras and dancers - they had a good time."
  • Legend explained the music video to MTV News: "The video definitely has that story line in it, but we just take it kind of different places to do some unexpected visual things. We have this surreal kind of dance sequence, and it features synchronized swimmers and showgirls. We just throw a little extra twist on it. We wanted to mix a current, modern feel with an old-school, classic Hollywood feel because the song has kind of a big-band quality to it as well as a more modern dance-song quality. We wanted to mix the two different parts."
  • In 2015, Legend's wife Chrissy Teigen said on The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore that this was by far her least-favorite John Legend song. "I had a meltdown on the set of the video, a fit of jealousy," she explained. "But I also think it's just horrible, pandering to radio audiences."

Comments: 2

  • Jordan from Omaha, Nethis song is amazing. hands down one of the greatest songs ive ever heard. but thats john legend for you though.
  • Nikki from Chicago, IlJohn Legend's dog "Puddy" made his television debut in this music video when he was a pup.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Brenda RussellSongwriter Interviews

Brenda talks about the inspiration that drove her to write hit songs like "Get Here" and "Piano in the Dark," and why a lack of formal music training can be a songwriter's best asset.

Experience Nirvana with Sub Pop Founder Bruce PavittSong Writing

The man who ran Nirvana's first label gets beyond the sensationalism (drugs, Courtney) to discuss their musical and cultural triumphs in the years before Nevermind.

Chris Fehn of SlipknotSongwriter Interviews

A drummer for one of the most successful metal bands of the last decade, Chris talks about what it's like writing and performing with Slipknot. Metal-neck is a factor.

Rick AstleySongwriter Interviews

Rick Astley on "Never Gonna Give You Up," "Cry For Help," and his remarkable resurgence that gave him another #1 UK album.

John Lee HookerSongwriter Interviews

Into the vaults for Bruce Pollock's 1984 conversation with the esteemed bluesman. Hooker talks about transforming a Tony Bennett classic and why you don't have to be sad and lonely to write the blues.

Colin HaySongwriter Interviews

Established as a redoubtable singer-songwriter, the Men At Work frontman explains how religion, sobriety and Jack Nicholson play into his songwriting.