I have always dug the vibe of this song, enough so that it is the theme song for one of the shows on our radio station….
The riff is timeless with the feeling that it could have been conceived in 2016 as well as 1962.
The original group consisted of Booker T. Jones (keys…and who was just 17 when the band formed), Steve Cropper (guitar), Lewie Steinberg (bass), and Al Jackson Jr. (drums), and had worked themselves into a gig as the house band for newly formed Stax Records. One day in 1962 during a break, the band was fooling around with a organ riff by Jones. Jim Stewart who was president of Stax at the time liked what he heard and recorded it. The group thought to record a second song, and guitarist Cropper remembered another riff that Jones had come up with a couple of weeks before. The first song was titled, “Behave Yourself”, and was slated by Stewart to be the single. However, Jones and Cropper disagreed and thought the flip side, now titled, “Green Onions” was the superior song, and this was the way it was released.
The song took off to #3 on the charts, and set the works in motion for a series of soulful instrumentals. Steinberg was replaced by Donald “Duck” Dunn in 1965, but the rest of the band remained intact throughout the 60’s, reaching the top 40 seven times during the decade. Their sound as a band help define Stax, but even more so for the brilliant stable of talent at the Memphis record family. When you hear Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Carla and Rufus Thomas, Johnnie Taylor and many others, your hearing the Memphis sound…the sound of Booker T and the MG’s.