Let’s Stay Together
Writer(s): Al Green, Willie Mitchell, Al Jackson (see lyrics here)
First Charted: November 27, 1971
Peak: 11 US, 12 CB, 2 HR, 36 AC, 19 RB, 7 UK, 43 CN, 19 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)
Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.25 UK, 1.25 world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 128.6 video, 291.76 streaming
Awards: (Click on award for more details).
About the Song:
Al Green was booked at a Midland, Texas club on the same night as Willie Mitchell, who had just been named Hi Record’s vice president. BR Mitchell, enamored with “Green’s seductive voice,” NPR asked him to come to Memphis to record. Green responded that he didn’t care for Memphis, but Mitchell persisted. BR
As for how “Let’s Stay Together” came about, Mitchell said, “All My life I have tampered in jazz chords. One Saturday afternoon I was tampering around on the piano and came up with this melody…I played it for Al on the piano…About fifteen minutes later he came back with some words and we started messing with the song.” TC Still, it took Mitchell two more days to convince Green to record it. RS500 Recording finished late on a Friday night RS500 after over one hundred takes.” NPR The single was pressed the next Monday and by Thursday, Green learned that the song would enter the charts at number eight. RS500
Green and Mitchell would continue to make many more great records together, “but none quite so perfect as this.” AMG The song “radiates compassion and understanding… [and] tolerance and love with no strings attached.” AMG It is, understandably, a popular wedding song, SF but also holds a strong spiritual appeal, serving as “a Memphis soul sermon for a nation ripped apart by assassinations, riots, and betrayals.” AMG It doesn’t address any specific issues, it just offers “the heartfelt plea not to give up.” AMG
This song was Green’s only #1 on the pop charts and established Hi Records as “the new benchmark in soul.” TB It also bears the distinction of revitalizing Tina Turner’s career. When she covered it in 1983, it took her back to the charts in the UK and US for the first time in more than a decade.
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Last updated 4/28/2021.