10/18/1974 - The always wacky world of entertainment gets a little bit crazier than normal, when a very upset Mary Woodson attacks her lover, Al Green, in the singer's Memphis home ... using a big pot of boiling grits!
Woodson & Green
The sixth of ten children born to sharecropper Robert G. Greene, Jr. and his wife, Cora Lee, Alfred Leornes "Al" Greene (the "e" will be dropped later) comes into the world on 4/13/1946 in Forrest City, Arkansas. Naturally gifted with a great singing voice, by the age of ten, Al is performing with his siblings in a singing group called the Greene Brothers by the time he is ten. Trouble first comes his way as a teenager when he is kicked out of the house by his devoutly harsh father ... for listening to the musical stylings of legendary crooner, Jackie Wilson. Further "corruption" soon comes his way a la Wilson Pickett and Elvis Presley. In high school, Al forms a vocal group called Al Greene & the Creations, which soon morphs into Al Greene & the Soul Mates. Never able to chart beyond their hit recording of "Back Up Train." Al as a solo act is taken under the wings of Memphis Record producer Willie Mitchell, and the hits start flowing (he has now sold well over 20 million records) ... but the crazy life of a "star" also begins.
Back Up Train
Mitchell - 1966
With a roving eye for the pretty young women that attend his concerts, big trouble in Green's life begins when the singer meets 29-year-old Mary Woodson ... a troubled gold digger looking for a celebrity meal ticket (with friends, she enjoys seeing entertainers, and going backstage at Newark's Continental Ballroom). An omen perhaps of what is to come, the pair meet for the first time at a New Jersey prison where Green is performing a charity concert for the convicts, while Woodson visits a "friend." Entranced by the 5'4" beauty, the pair become boyfriend and girlfriend after Green flies Woodson out to a San Francisco performance. What Green doesn't know is that his new lady is married (her second), has four children (the oldest is 11), and is mentally unstable ... unstable as in she has shot a boyfriend in the foot after the man confesses to infidelity and has unsuccessfully tried to commit suicide using pills and slit wrists.
A seemingly normal day, on 10/18/1974, Green is at a Memphis recording studio working on a new song, when he receives a phone call from the local police that Woodson has been arrested for smoking marijuana in public, at the Peabody Hotel. Duty calling, Green leaves the session, drives to the police station and gets Woodson released. The pair then return to the studio where Green gets back to work. There, he is visited by a friend, flight attendant, Carlotta Williams who is looking for a place to crash between flights ... and a room is quickly volunteered at Green's Memphis mansion. Surprisingly, the two women get along quite nicely, but just to make sure, Green tells the women that everything is on the up-and-up and that he isn't interested in a threesome. Arriving at the mansion. Green gets Williams settled into a guest room, and then goes to tell Woodson he is going to take a shower ... he finds her in the kitchen, boiling a pot of water.
"Al, honey, have you ever thought about getting married?" Woodson asks Green as he steps into the kitchen and gives his girlfriend a hug. "Married?" Green asks with surprise. "Maybe we should talk about this in the morning, baby." Her last words to Green are, "You know, Al, I would never do anything to hurt you." And so off Green goes for his shower. Upstairs in his master bathroom, the singer strips down to his underwear, brushes his teeth, and then steps into the bathtub/shower. About to turn on the water, instead of H2O wet, Woodson showers her lover's back at that moment with a huge pot of boiling grits ... an action Green will describe as feeling like "... a thousand splatters of pure agony." Screaming in pain and about to pass out, Green is in "terror motion" and leaves the room, runs into Williams open door (she has heard his screams and is leaving her room to investigate), and jumps in his visitors bathtub, where the flight attendant turns the shower on at full cold. There, the pair hear gunshots from Green's room. A poor shot or getting in some practice, Woodson fires two shots from the .38 pistol Green keeps by his bed ... the first into the bedroom wall, the third, fatally into her own head (she will leave behind a suicide note in her purse).
Green - 1974
Suffering from third-degree burns on his back, chest, and arms, Green is rushed by ambulance to the local Baptist Hospital where he is stabilized ... and begins eight months of skin grafts and convalescence; a time period during which the singer reads the Bible, prays, and reflects on his life thus far. Remembering that Woodson had predicted that within ten years, Green would be singing gospel and preaching at his own church, the singer comes to the conclusion that the attack on his hide with boiling grits is a sign from the Lord that he should clean up his act immediately. A sign that Green believes is reinforced by another cryptic "message" from God ... this time delivered when Green falls off the stage while performing in Cincinnati. As Green will state, "I had fallen off the stage, out of the spotlight, and into the hands of the living God."
Green - 1979
Sincere in changing his life, born-again Christian Green becomes an ordained pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle of Memphis in 1976, and buys the church in 1979 ... where he still preaches and sings to this day when not on tour (along with continuing to record and release gospel and R&B albums, though his sales are not as heavenly as they were before). Since changing his life, Green has not fallen off any other stages, nor been attacked with any other famous southern dishes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Green Performing - 2008