Booker T. & the MG's

Green Onions

Add to Song Favorites ♥

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 Concord 3:43
No Image 1962 2:45
The Best of Booker T. & the MG's [Atlantic] 1968 Rhino / Atlantic 2:45
Max Weinberg Presents: Let There Be Drums, Vol. 2 - The 60's 196?
Various Artists
Rhino 2:55
No Image 1973
Various Artists
Rhino
American Graffiti 1973
Original Soundtrack
MCA 2:26
Quadrophenia [Music from the Soundtrack of The Who Film] 1979 Polydor 2:47
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 2:50
No Image 1989
Various Artists
Rhino
Atlantic Soul Classics [1985] 1990
Various Artists
Warner Music / Rhino 2:53
Tour of Duty 1990
Various Artists
Magnum
Atlantic Rhythm & Blues 1947-1974 [Box] 1991
Various Artists
Atlantic 2:50
Billboard Top Rock & Roll Hits: 1962-1966 1993
Various Artists
Rhino 2:55
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 / 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
Rock Instrumental Classics, Vols. 1-5 1995
Various Artists
Rhino / Warner Bros. 2:56
Movie Killers 1996
Various Artists
Records
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
This Is...Son of Cult Fiction 1997
Various Artists
Virgin 2:33
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
Chart Toppers: Rock Hits of the 60s 1998 Priority Records 2:55
Blues Summit 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 0:00
Time Is Tight [1998] 1998 Stax 4:37
Soft Rock Classics [Rhino Box] 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 0:00
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
New Millennium Party 2000
Various Artists
Rhino 2:53
The 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: the Ultimate Mod Collection 1958-67 2001
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 3:01
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:50
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
Old School Box of Soul 2002
Various Artists
Thump Records 2:50
The Essentials 2002 Rhino 2:53
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
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 / Elektra / Rhino 2:56
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
Universal / Um3 2:54
Stax Profiles 2006 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 / Stax 2:55
The Platinum Collection 2007 Warner Platinum 2:54
Complete Stax-Volt Singles, Vol. 2 2007
Various Artists
Rhino 2:54
Los Grandes del Soul 2007
Various Artists
Contrasena 2:53
Sweet Soul Music: The Best of Stax 2007
Various Artists
UMVD 2:55
The Very Best of Booker T. and the MG's [Stax] 2007 Fantasy / Stax 2:53
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 Universal Distribution 3:41
Atlantic Soul Classics [1987] 2008
Various Artists
Atlantic 2:53
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Nordstrom
Sweet Soul Music: 28 Scorching Classics From 1962 2008
Various Artists
Bear Family Records 2:52
Only in America: Atlantic Soul Classics 2009
Various Artists
Atlantic / Rhino / Rhino Atlantic 2:56
100 Hits: Sixties Pop 2010
Various Artists
100 Hits 2:54
Stax Number Ones 2010
Various Artists
Stax 2:54
Fender: The Golden Age 1950-1970 2012
Various Artists
Ace / Ace UK 2:52
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
Memphis Soul Beat 2013 Jasmine Records 2:54
Songs from Scandal: Music for Gladiators 2013
Various Artists
Stax / Universal / Universal Music Classics and Jazz 2:54
Stax Classics 2017 Atlantic / Rhino 3:55
The Vietnam War: A Film by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick - The Soundtrack 2017
Various Artists
Universal 2:54
An Introduction To 2019 Atlantic / Flashback Records 2:56
The Complete Stax Singles, Vol. 1: 1962-1967 2019 Real Gone Music 2:53
'60s: The Collection
Various Artists
Rhino / Warner Music 2:56
America's Greatest Hits, Vol. 13: 1962
Various Artists
Acrobat Music / Trapeze 2:53
American Classics [Rhino]
Various Artists
Rhino
American Music Library: The Hits of 1962
Various Artists
Fantastic Voyage 2:55
Andre [Original Soundtrack]
Original Soundtrack
Rhino 3:55
Classic Driving Songs
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 2:55
Greatest Ever! Mod
Various Artists
Union Square Music 2:53
Introducing...Soul
Various Artists
Rhino / Warner Music / WSM 2:56
Legend [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]
Various Artists
Island 2:54
Mod: The Collection
Various Artists
Rhino 2:53
Music from the House That Ahmet Built
Various Artists
Atlantic / Rhino 3:55
No Image
Various Artists
Com-Es Musik Schallplatten
Sixties [Rhino]
Various Artists
Rhino 2:45
Soulful Mornings
Various Artists
Rhino 2:56
Sweet Soul Music [Rhino]
Various Artists
Rhino / Warner Music 2:52
No Image
Various Artists
Dino Entertainment
Top Hits/60's Only Number 1's
Various Artists
Warner Music 2:56
Whata' Wonderful Instrumentals
Various Artists
Warner Music