Booker T. & the MG's

Green Onions

Composed by Al Jackson, Jr. / Booker T. Jones / Lewis Steinberg / Steve Cropper

Song Review by

"Green Onions" is one of the most popular instrumental rock and soul songs ever, reaching #3 in 1962 and remaining oft-played on oldies radio and by bar bands ever since. Instrumentals were very big in rock music when "Green Onions" came out, and many stuck to conventional, even boring, major-keyed R&B-based riffs. "Green Onions" was immediately distinctive and different for its ominous three-note riffs and minor-colored, constant key changes. It was a sweet-sour blend akin to the "Green Onions" of the title, but very tough and creepy as well, like a hypnotic prelude to a night of prowling for action in dark alleys. Booker T. & the MGs' instrumental talents really asserted themselves on this recording as well, particularly in Booker T. Jones's distinctive choked organ textures and skittering, economic single-note solos. Also taking some of the solos were Steve Cropper's ruthlessly lean, devious, and reverbed guitar, squeezing out spurts of menace when not keeping a choppy rhythm with choked chords. Al Jackson, meanwhile, laid down a rock-solid drumbeat that looked forward to the MGs' work as the house band during Stax Records' glory days. "Green Onions" is an irresistible dance song, and one of the moodiest uptempo soul-rock instrumentals of its sort. "Green Onions" had an almost accidental birth, as it was cut by the group with time left over after they had served as the backing musicians on a session by rockabilly singer Billy Lee Riley.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Green Onions 1962 Rhino Atlantic 2:56
No Image 1962 2:45
The Stax/Volt Revue, Vol. 1: Live in London 1967
Various Artists
Rhino Atlantic 5:00
The Best of Booker T. & the MG's [Atlantic] 1968 Friday Music
Max Weinberg Presents: Let There Be Drums, Vol. 2 - The 60's 196?
Various Artists
Rhino 2:55
American Graffiti 1973
Original Soundtrack
MCA 2:26
No Image 1984
Various Artists
MCA
Atlantic Rhythm & Blues 1947-1974, Vol. 4 (1958-1962) 1985
Various Artists
Atlantic 2:50
The Rock 'N' Roll Era: 1962 1986
Various Artists
JCI Associated Labels 2:54
Rockin' Down the Block, Vol. 2 1987
Various Artists
Silver Eagle Records 2:55
Top of the Stax: Twenty Greatest Hits 1988
Various Artists
Stax 5:06
Feuerwerk [HiFi Vision] 1989
Various Artists
HiFi Vision 2:55
Atlantic Soul Classics [1985] 1990
Various Artists
Warner Music / Rhino 2:53
Tour of Duty 1990
Various Artists
Magnum
The Complete Stax/Volt Singles, 1959-1968 1991
Various Artists
Atlantic / Rhino
The Soulful Sounds of Stax Vol. 1 & 2 1992
Various Artists
Malaco 2:55
Soul Hits, Vol. 1 [Rhino] 1993
Various Artists
Rhino 2:56
Blues Brother Soul Sister [Dino] 1994
Various Artists
Dino Entertainment 2:50
The Very Best of Booker T. & the MG's 1994 Rhino 2:55
The R&B Box: 30 Years of Rhythm & Blues 1994
Various Artists
Rhino / Rhino/Warner Bros.
The Best Funk Album in the World..Ever 1995
Various Artists
Virgin 2:51
Get Shorty 1995
Original Soundtrack
Antilles / Polygram 2:55
No Image 1995
Various Artists
Rhino 2:56
The Promised Land [Columbia] 1995
Original TV Soundtrack
Columbia / Sony Music Distribution 2:54
Movie Killers 1996
Various Artists
Records
The Concert for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 1996
Various Artists
Columbia 5:10
Striptease 1996
Original Soundtrack
EMI Music Distribution / Capitol 2:51
Hot Rod: Big Boss Instrumentals 1997
Various Artists
The Right Stuff / Capitol 2:55
Try a Little Tenderness: '60s Soul 1997
Various Artists
Rhino Flashback 2:55
Ultimate 60's Soul Sensations 1998
Various Artists
Rhino
Listen in Color 1998
Various Artists
Jazz FM 2:53
Bar-B-Que Soul-A-Bration 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 2:55
Old School Soul 1998
Various Artists
Thump Records 2:48
Golden Age of Hollywood 1998
Various Artists
Rhino
Time Is Tight [1998] 1998 Universal 2:55
Soft Rock Classics [Rhino Box] 1998
Various Artists
Rhino
Pottery Barn: Radio Soul 1998
Various Artists
Polygram 2:54
Hot Rod Box Set 1999
Various Artists
The Right Stuff 2:55
Essential Soundtracks 1999
Various Artists
Telstar TV Records 2:52
Oldies Radio: K-Earth 101FM Greatest Hits 1999
Various Artists
Rhino 2:55
No Image 1999
Various Artists
Image Entertainment
The Best Jukebox Album in the World...Ever! 2000
Various Artists
Virgin 2:50
Millennium Soul Party 2000
Various Artists
Rhino 2:53
Teen Beat, Vol. 5 2000
Various Artists
Ace 2:53
Respect: The Soundtrack to the Soul Generation 2000
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
New Millennium Party 2000
Various Artists
Rhino 2:53
Stax Story 2000
Various Artists
Stax 4:15
Film 2000 2000
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:54
Absolute Sixties 2000
Various Artists
Eva 2:50
Back to Black: 1900-1999 2001
Various Artists
Universal International 2:54
Instant Party: Whole Lotta Soul 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 2:53
In Crowd: Ultimate Collection 1958-67 2001
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:01
The  Memphis Box 2001
Various Artists
Icehouse Records 2:50
The Classic Rhythm & Blues Collection, Vol. 5: The Sixties 2001
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:50
Live Concert Rock Classics 2001
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 5:15
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:53
Soul Spectacular! The Greatest Soul Hits of All Time 2002
Various Artists
Rhino 2:54
American Graffiti, Vol. 1 2002
Original Soundtrack
DJ Specialist 2:17
Express Yourself: The Best of Soul 2002
Various Artists
Flashback Gold / Rhino 2:53
Blues & Soul Masters 2002
Various Artists
WSM
Old School Box of Soul 2002
Various Artists
Thump Records 2:50
The Essentials 2002 Rhino 2:53
Platinum Soul Legends 2002
Various Artists
Warner Music
The Ultimate Gangster Movie Soundtrack 2002
Various Artists
BMG
Old School R&B 2003
Various Artists
Thump Records 2:48
All the 60's 2003
Various Artists
Warner Music 2:15
The Incredible Soul Collection 2003
Various Artists
Rhino 2:55
Green Onions and Other Hits 2003 Flashback Records / Rhino Flashback 2:54
Respect: The Soul Generation Soundtrack 2003
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:50
Simply the Best Platinum Soul 2003
Various Artists
WEA International 2:51
Simply the Best 60's 2003
Various Artists
Warner Music
Soul Comes Home: A Celebration of Stax Records 2004
Various Artists
Stax 5:42
No Image 2004
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
Funk Soul Classics 2004
Various Artists
Ministry of Sound 2:52
Memphis Celebrates 50 Years of Rock 'n' Roll 2004
Various Artists
BMG / BMG Heritage 2:54
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas [Box Set] 2004
Original Game Soundtrack
Geffen 2:52
Atlantic Gold 2005
Various Artists
WEA International 2:52
Rhino Hi-Five: Booker T. & the MG's, Vol. 1 2005 Atlantic 2:54
All the Beer Songs 2005
Various Artists
Warner Bros.
Atlantic Rhythm & Blues 1947-1974, Vol. 5: 1961-1965 2006
Various Artists
WEA International 2:53
Express Yourself: Soul In The 20th Century 2006
Various Artists
Um3 / Universal 2:55
Stax Profiles 2006 Fantasy / Stax 3:42
Funk N' R&B Box Set 2006
Various Artists
Thump Records 2:48
Atlantic R&B Box Set 2006
Various Artists
WEA International 2:53
Absolute Soul [Crimson] 2006
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 2:53
The Soul Story, Vol. 2 2006
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:50
Stax 50: A 50th Anniversary Celebration 2007
Various Artists
Concord 2:55
The Platinum Collection 2007 Warner Platinum 2:54
Stax/Volt: The Complete Singles 1959-1968 2007
Various Artists
Rhino Atlantic 2:53
Los Grandes del Soul 2007
Various Artists
Contrasena 2:53
Sweet Soul Music: The Best of Stax 2007
Various Artists
Universal 2:55
The Very Best of Booker T. and the MG's [Stax] 2007 Fantasy / Stax 2:54
Heartbeat Summer 2007
Various Artists
Virgin 2:54
Soul Story Infomercial Set 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:50
100 Hits: Soul 2007
Various Artists
100 Hits 2:55
Stax/Volt Revue: Live in Norway 1967 2007
Various Artists
Stax
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Concord / Universal
#1 R&B Pop Classics of the 60s 2007
Various Artists
Madacy 2:52
Top 10: Music for the Road 2007
Various Artists
Warner Music 2:56
Atlantic Soul Classics [1987] 2008
Various Artists
Atlantic 2:53
Immortal Soul: Essential Recordings from the Golden Age 2008
Various Artists
Nordstrom
The Stax Story [Concord] 2008
Various Artists
Concord 2:54
Sweet Soul Music: 28 Scorching Classics From 1962 2008
Various Artists
Bear Family Records 2:52
100 Hits: Party Karaoke 2008
Various Artists
100 Hits / DMG 100
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Warner Music 2:56
Only in America: Atlantic Soul Classics 2009
Various Artists
Atlantic / Rhino / Rhino Atlantic 2:56
Sight and Sound: Oo' Dad 2009
Various Artists
WEA Int'l 2:53
American Diner [Ministry of Sound UK] 2009
Various Artists
Inspired Distribution / Inspired Records / Ministry of Sound 2:50
Atlantic Records: The Time Capsule 2009
Various Artists
Atlantic 2:55
Mod Mania 2010
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:53
Weekend Songs: Your Essential Weekend Soundtrack 2010
Various Artists
Rhino 2:53
100 Hits: Summer 2010
Various Artists
Demon Music Group / DMG 100 2:53
100 Hits: Sixties Pop 2010
Various Artists
100 Hits 2:54
Weekend Songs: The Autumn Collection 2010
Various Artists
Rhino 3:42
Billy Connolly's Route 66: Music from and Inspired by the ITV Series 2011
Various Artists
UMTV 2:53
Fender: The Golden Age 1950-1970 2012
Various Artists
Ace / Ace UK 2:52
200 Sixties Hits: 200 Classic No. 1 Songs from the 60s 2012
Various Artists
Maximuze 2:52
Original Album Series 2012 Rhino / Warner Bros.
Atlantic Soul Legends : 20 Original Albums From the Iconic Atlantic Label 2012
Various Artists
Rhino / Warner Bros. 2:57
Soul: The Collection 2012
Various Artists
Rhino 2:55
70s: The Collection 2012
Various Artists
Rhino 2:53
Crusin' Music, Vol. 2 2012
Various Artists
Thump Records 2:50
Sweet Soul Music 2013
Various Artists
Delta / Performance
Soul Party 2013 Wounded Bird 4:14
Songs from Scandal: Music for Gladiators 2013
Various Artists
Stax / Universal / Universal Music Classics and Jazz 2:54
Sixties Soul Machine 2013
Various Artists
Rhino 2:54
Sweethearts and Stolen Kisses: From the Movies 2014
Various Artists
Music Digital 2:54
Green Onions/Soul Dressing 2015 Edsel
100 Hits: Soul [2015]
Various Artists
100 Hits
100 Hits: Summer [2015]
Various Artists
100 Hits
3/60: Soul Classics
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 2:53
3/60: The Sixties
Various Artists
Crimson Productions
America's Greatest Hits, Vol. 13: 1962
Various Artists
Acrobat / Trapeze 2:53
American Highway
Various Artists
Rhino / WMTV 2:53
American Music Library: The Hits of 1962
Various Artists
Fantastic Voyage 2:55
Andre [Original Soundtrack]
Original Soundtrack
Rhino 3:55
Atlantic Gold: 100 Soul Classics
Various Artists
Rhino Atlantic / Warner Music 2:56
Boogie Chillen [Fantastic Voyage]
Various Artists
Fantastic Voyage
De Pre Historie: 1962, Vol. 2
Various Artists
Eva 2:54
Fab Hits, Vol. 2
Various Artists
Sound and Vision 2:57
Greatest Ever! Mod
Various Artists
Union Square Music 2:53
Green Onions/Behave Yourself [Digital 45] Rhino 2:47
Hot Hundred: Holiday Hits
Various Artists
Music Digital 2:19
How Britain Got the Blues, Vol. 4: How Mods Got the Blues
Various Artists
History of RnB Records / Rhythm & Blues / Rhythm and Blues 2:57
I Just Love Soul Music
Various Artists
Music Digital 2:54
Killer Hits: All the Hits by All the Stars
Various Artists
Harkit Records
Le  Coffret Idéal Soul
Various Artists
Warner Music
Mod Anthems
Various Artists
Rhino 2:54
Moon River: Great Instrumental Hits of the '60s
Various Artists
Dynamic Nostalgia 2:53
Music from the House That Ahmet Built
Various Artists
Rhino 2:56
No Image
Various Artists
Warner Music 2:54
No Image
Various Artists
Warner Music 2:51
Oldies Hits A To Z, Vol. 15
Various Artists
Forever Classic Hits 2:50
Oldies Hits A to Z, Vol. 6
Various Artists
Forever Classic Hits 2:50
Rock 'n' Roll Jukebox: Hits from the '50s & '60s
Various Artists
Somerset Entertainment 2:55
No Image
Various Artists
Com-Es Musik Schallplatten 2:53
No Image
Various Artists
Warner Bros.
Sweet Soul Music [Rhino]
Various Artists
Rhino 2:55
Sweethearts & Stolen Kisses: At the Beach
Various Artists
Music Digital 2:54
No Image
Various Artists
Dino Entertainment
The History of Rhythm and Blues, Vol. 4 1957-1962
Various Artists
The History of Rhythm & Blues / Rhythm & Blues 2:54
The Weekend Starts Here
Various Artists
EMI / Virgin
Wait a Minute: the Stax & Satellite Story
Various Artists
One Day Music 2:53
What Made Mods
Various Artists
Music Digital 2:54
Whata' Wonderful Instrumentals
Various Artists
Warner Music 2:53
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