In 1968 the Temptations original version of this song was a rocking/funky Sly and the Family Stone inspired track. By 1970 Al Green had other ideas for it. The sessions for his second album, Al Green Gets Next To You were filled with experimentation, some sex, hard-edged, bass heavy r&b—and of course the loving pit stop to Jesus. It was on “I Can’t Get Next To You” Green improbably put most of the elements together for one song. As Green proudly if not giddily explained, in the 1983 film, The Gospel According to Al Green, the genesis of his cover was simple. Green’s take slowed the song down to a seductive beat. While the original’s lyrics had all of the five Temptations taking the role of the song’s protagonist, with Green the intent was more striking. For Green in particular having all of these alleged superpowers, yet not getting the woman was more dramatic. The maverick spirit of the sessions came through loud and clear by way of Teenie Hodges’s acid rock and blazing guitar solo. Near the song’s end Green’s barely controlled singing, “Lord, I’ve been working on it baby.” To no avail obviously as he lets out a frustrated high pitched moan that says it all. Not only was “I Can’t Get Next To You” the perfect way to start the album, it’s stark power stood in contrast to his later hits on 1975’s Greatest Hits.