A night after being celebrated by President Barack Obama and other D.C. dignitaries at the Kennedy Center Honors, Al Green visited the Late Show With David Letterman. The soul legend – still wearing the rainbow-colored ribbon and medal around his neck and accompanied by Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra – performed a pair of Green’s best tracks, “Tired of Being Alone” and “Let’s Stay Together,” two of Rolling Stone‘s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
The performance was so rousing that Letterman exclaimed “Oh my God!” four times following “Tired of Being Alone.” The late night host, a longtime Green fan, was also at the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony Sunday night to pay tribute to actor Tom Hanks. At that ceremony, Usher, Jennifer Hudson, Earth, Wind & Fire and Mavis Staples with Sam & Dave’s Sam Moore all performed Green tracks to celebrate his contributions to music.
When Rolling Stone caught up with Hanks at the Kennedy Center Honors, he talked about his love for Green’s music. “Look, I’m from Oakland, California, a funky town. And we had one of the greatest soul stations in the world, KIDA, Lucky 13. Al Green, ‘So Tired of Being Alone,’ ‘Let’s Stay Together,’ it goes on and on and on,” Hanks said, adding that he wasn’t familiar with Green’s gospel work but was looking forward to changing that. “When I get back to my laptop, I’m going to download. I want to be able to tell Al Green, ‘I’ve got all your records, including the gospel stuff.'”