Who was/is Marlin Greene ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more

Long before his name became familiar to Southern soul aficionados thanks to his co-producing Percy Sledge’s incredible string of hits with Quin Ivy, Marlin Greene was rocking. The guitarist got in on the ground floor in Muscle Shoals, debuting with the bouncy original Wishful Thinking on James Joiner’s Florence, Alabama-based Tune label in late 1957 (the label botched the title as Wiseful Thinking). Atkins picked Greene up from there for RCA, producing the swaggering Marlene, Marlin’s first Victor offering, in early ’58 (it was penned by Joiner and Kelso Herston). Its plattermate Walkin’ To The Dance was a teen ballad. 

Later in the year, Greene came back with Never Been Kissed, his wildest rocker with its slicing guitar work and Marlin’s energetic vocal. Writer Billy Harlan knew the rockabilly milieu intimately, waxing his own dynamite two-sider I Wanna Bop b/w School House Rock for Brunswick the same year. Rick Hall and Billy Sherrill later made mammoth music history, but when they wrote Greene’s B-side Ballad Of Love, they were struggling songwriters looking for a break. Strings and backing voices came out in force on I Couldn’t Take It Again, Greene’s self-penned United Artists single in 1960 (he covered Bobby Freeman’s [Let’s Do The] Shimmy Shimmy on the B-side). Marlin also wrote At The Party, half of his only 45 for Delta in 1961, with Hall contributing Crazy Crazy Heart as a flip.

Shelby Singleton produced The Angels Got Together, Greene’s first ballad outing on Philips in 1962 (Aaron Schroeder was its author), with Greene bringing its upbeat opposite side Let There Be Love in himself (guitarist Jerry Kennedy arranged both). Marlin encored on Philips with If It Takes A Fool, the attractive work of pianist David Briggs and Bruce Gist, and Gist’s General Of Broken Hearts. But Greene wouldn’t break through as a singer. Instead, he played lead guitar in 1966 on one of the biggest hits of the century: Sledge’s immortal When A Man Loves A Woman. Marlin also wrote a slew of Percy’s Atlantic sides, usually in cahoots with either Gist or Eddie Hinton, including Sledge’s ’67 hit Cover Me.

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