"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.