Al Green on July 2 at Hard Rock Live
In 1972, Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" was named Billboard's top R&B track. Today, it's widely considered one of the most important American recordings, earning a top-100 spot on both Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list and the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry. Yet despite its critical accolades and historical significance, Green's song still needed help from a sitting U.S. president to move major units in 2012.
At a campaign fundraiser in Harlem's historic Apollo Theater on January 19, President Barack Obama channeled his inner Al Green and belted out a few bars of the R&B singer's immortal hit. "I, I'm so in love with you," the POTUS crooned as the enthusiastic crowd cheered. "I told you I was going to do it," he joked, speaking to his staff.
Almost immediately, the sound bite and corresponding video went viral, and Obama's rendition was soon being featured on news programs around the world. The White House even released a downloadable "Let's Stay Together" ringtone. Meanwhile, the original Al Green version saw a 490-percent sales increase, becoming the best-selling digital track since SoundScan started monitoring downloads in 2003, according to Billboard, and selling a whopping 160,000 downloads. There's just nothing better than presidential product placement.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.