Albert Greene was born on a farm in Arkansas in 1946, and began performing gospel music with his brothers at the age of ten.
In his teens, Green was kicked out of the family home for listening to secular music. In high school, he started performing as Al Greene & the Creations, (and later, Al Greene & the Soul Mates) and founded record label Hot Line Music Journal. The group released one hit and had a successful appearance at the Apollo Theater in New York.
The band eventually broke up. Green dropped the "e" from his last name and tried his luck as a solo artist. He worked with producer Willie Mitchell to find his own voice rather than emulate his idols Jackie Wilson, James Brown, or Sam Cooke.
He achieved huge success in the early 1970s with songs from "Let's Stay Together" and "Look What You Done for Me" to "I'm Still In Love with You" and "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" (written by the Bee Gees!). Following a personal tragedy in 1974 (Green's then girlfriend assaulted him before committing suicide) which he took as a sign from God, Green distanced himself from the stage in order to enter the ministry and become an ordained pastor. As a reverend, Green released gospel music. Since then, he had released music fusing gospel and R&B.