The bestselling author of Shakey: Neil Young's Biography presents the first in-depth biography of the legendary soul singer Al Green.
Al Green has blessed listeners with some of the biggest hits of the past fifty years. "Love and Happiness," "I'm Still in Love with You," "Let's Get Married," and "I'm Tired of Being Alone" are but a sampling of the iconic songs that led a generation to embrace love in perhaps the most tumultuous period in this country's history, an unparalleled body of work that has many calling Green one of the greatest soul singers of all time. The music legend has sold over 20 million albums and been sampled by numerous rappers, and even President Obama has been known to sing a chorus or two. The now-Bishop Green is without a doubt one of the most beloved yet inscrutable figures ever to grace the popular music stage, and he has managed to magically sidestep being successfully scrutinized in print. Until now.
Acclaimed journalist and author Jimmy McDonough expertly tackles this most elusive of subjects and aims to present readers with the definitive portrait of a man everyone knows but few understand. McDonough manages to break through Green's joyous veneer to reveal the contrary, tortured, and solitary individual beneath, a man who spent decades dancing an uneasy tightrope between the sacred and the profane. From his childhood in the backwaters of Arkansas to commanding the stage in front of throngs of lusting fans to addressing a very different audience from the pulpit of his own church, readers will bear witness to the creation of some of the most electrifying soul music ever recorded; learn the hitherto untold real story behind Green's colorful down-home Memphis label, Hi Records; and--by way of countless in-depth interviews with major players in the story, some speaking for the very first time -- unravel one of the last great mysteries in popular music: Al Green.
About the Author
Jimmy McDonough is a journalist and biographer best known for his biographies of Tammy Wynette, Neil Young, Russ Meyer, and Andy Milligan. McDonough lives in the Pacific Northwest.
"Making the complexities of past subjects like Neil Young seem quaint by comparison, Jimmy McDonough has taken on the challenge of a lifetime: explaining the enduring mystery of Al Green. A compulsively readable and often disquieting tale, Soul Survivor helps us understand the mass of contradictions that comprise the Reverend's life story, as well as the warring factions that continue to battle within his heart and mind. A truly remarkable look at Al Green's soul--the music and the man."--Bob Mehr, author of Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements
"Deacon McDonough scrutinizes the inscrutable and finds many Al Greens. The man revealed may not be as beautiful as his voice, but he's every bit as astonishing. McDonough dives deep, bringing us the songs, the players, the loves, and the tragedies. This is a book where the surprises never end."--Robert Gordon, author of Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion
"In great detail, journalist McDonough traces Green's career...[His] sharp critical insights into Green's albums and songs energize the book." —Publishers Weekly
"A gripping read." —Memphis Flyer
"McDonough's riveting, richly detailed book dives into the deep, complex, tangled, tortured history of the man considered by many as one of the towering soul artists of the 20th century."—Parade
"Soul Survivor is masterful and exhaustively researched, and will be as close as a reader gets to knowing a practically unknowable artist." —Houston Press
"Soul Survivor covers every twist and turn in the life and times of [Al Green]....a compelling and exhaustively detailed account." —Pop Matters
"Wildly entertaining."—Wall Street Journal
"This thrilling biography not only takes you to the river, it'll wash you in the water as well."
—The Morton Report
"Readers who love the music (and who doesn't?) will enjoy the book."—Library Journal
"Strap yourself in for a jolting ride of love, happiness, betrayal, cruelty, musical enrichment, and ultimately, loneliness."—Soul Tracks
"[Soul Survivor] does an admirable job reconciling Green's complicated nature with his untouchable, influential catalog."—Salon.com, ?The 30 must-read music books of Fall 2017?
"By combining wildly imaginative prose with thorough research and musical and historical expertise, the scribe-and his compelling subject-hold one's attention happily hostage."—MOJO
"McDonough's career has been defined by not only a string of inscrutable subjects, but an ability to kick up a fuss wherever he goes...It feels as if Soul Survivor could be his defining work...[it] is about the most comprehensive and rewarding account of an endlessly intriguing life imaginable." —Record Collector
"McDonough, a tireless journalist, explores this enigmatic and at times unlikable genius in greater depth than ever before."—Chicago Tribune
"Soul Survivor's primary virtue is McDonough's tough-minded but ultimately compassionate portrait of one of the giants of 20th century popular music in all his unfathomable complexity."—Living Blues