Our top 10 Booker T. & the M.G.’s songs list takes a look at one of the most important bands of the 1960s. Their importance was not based on just their own hits, but rather the role they played as essentially the house band for all the great Stax Record’s recording artists. Nonetheless, the band did release a series of great instrumental records from 1962 to 1971. Their debut album Green Onions was released in 1962. The group followed up that album in 1963 with the record Soul Dressing. In 1966, they released two albums entitled And Now! and In The Christmas Spirit. 1967 saw the release of the very successful Hip Hug-Her album. In 1968, they released the album entitled Doin’ Our Thing. 1968 also saw the release of the record Soul Limbo. The following year in 1969. Booker T & the M.G’s scored a big hit with a movie soundtrack from the film UpTight. That same year they also released the album The Booker T. Set. The album McLemore Avenue was released in 1970 and their initial run came to an end in 1971 with the album Melting Pot.
During their initial run and the band’s glory years, the group consisted of Booker T. Jones on the Hammond M3 organ, Steve Cropper on guitar, Lewis Steinberg on bass and Al Jackson Jr. on drums. The group recorded their first two albums with that lineup. On the third record, Donald Dunn took over the bass duties from Lewis Steinberg. The lineup of Booker T. Jones, Steve Cropper, Donald Dunn and Al Jackson Jr. would become the classic lineup to be featured on every album up until Melting Pot in 1971 from the time Dunn joined the band.
Jones, Cropper and Dunn returned in 1977 with a new album entitled Universal Language. The band’s former drummer Al Jackson Jr. had been murdered in 1975. Willie Hall replaced him for the 1977 album. The band would not release a new album for another seventeen years. In 1994, the band returned with their final album as of this writing in 2020 entitled That’s the Way It Should Be. The album featured once again the core three of Booker T Jones, Steve Cropper and Donald Dunn. However, the drumming chair for the record was manned by Steve Jordan and James Gadson.
Our Top 10 Booker T & The M.G.’s songs list takes a look at their entire career and chooses ten great tracks to represent some of their best music. This was one of the most important bands in classic rock history. Their musical skills as well as their ability to play with such a united groove has served as an inspiration for bands looking to find that pocket!
# 10 – Rinky Dink
We thought opening up this top 10 Booker T. & the M.G.’s songs list with the great song “Rinky Dink,” would be a great way to present the soul infused rhythm and grooves music of Booker T. & the M.G.’s. The track “Rinky Dink,” was released on the band’s debut album Green Onions.
# 9 – Melting Pot
Continuing with our top 10 Booker T. & the M.G.’s Songs list we turn to one of their later day albums. The great record Melting Pot was released in 1971. The Melting Pot album would be the group’s last record to feature the legendary lineup of Booker T. Jones on keyboards, Steve Cropper on guitar, Donald Dunn on bass and Al Jackson Jr. on drums. Presented here is the album’s title track.
# 8 – Mo’ Onions
The great track “Mo’ Onions was released on the legendary Green Onions album. It’s similar to its big brother “Green Onions,” but still retains its own personality if you get my vibe. The Green Onions album was released in 1962.
# 7 – Cruisin’
We now turn to the Booker T. & the MG’s 1994 comeback album That’s the Way It Should Be. It was the band’s first album since their 1977 record Universal Language, The great track “Cruisin'” won a Grammy Award in 1994 for the “Best Pop Instrumental Performance.”
# 6 – Hang Em High
Booker T. & the M.G.’s Song “Hang Em High,” was released on the Soul Limbo album. The record was released in 1968. Booker and the boys delivered a western themed melody with a soul infused groove that was unique and incredibly addicting. “Hang Em High,” was a commercial success for the band. The song was a top 10 hit on the Billboard Hit 100 in 1968.
# 5 – Soul Dressing
Continuing with our Top 10 Booker T. & the M.G.’s Songs list we go back to the year 1965 and the fabulous album Soul Dressing. The title track is represented here in the number six spot. Just listen to these guys groove along that descending chord progression. Steve Cropper and Booker T are just so locked in together sharing those spectacular riffs so wonderfully.
# 4 – Soul Limbo
“Soul Limbo,” is the title track from the band’s seventh album Soul Limbo. The album was released in 1968. This was one of Booker T’s most popular songs, especially in the UK where it was placed as the theme for various television shows. The album also contained a great cover of The Beatles “Eleanor Rigby,” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady.”
# 3 – Time Is Tight
The classic tune “Time Is Tight” stands as one of the most popular songs ever released by Booker T. & the M.G.’s. The song was released on the motion picture soundtrack Up Tight. The film and soundtrack were released in 1968. The song “Time Is Tight” was the second highest charting single of Booker T. & the M.G.’s career. The song peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100.
# 2 – Hip Hug-Her
As we close in on our number one song on this top 10 Booker T. & the M.G.’s Songs list, we give a huge shout out to the memorable tune “Hip Hug-Her.” Oh, is this baby sweet. The song served as the title track to the Hip Hug-Her album. That smoking album was released in 1967.
# 1 – Green Onions
When music fans and critics mention the band Booker T. & the M.G.’s, the song “Green Onions,” is usually included in the same breath. It has and will always be the band’s signature song. It was the group’s biggest hit of their career. It was released on the band’s first album also titled Green Onions in 1962. The song “Green Onions,” peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 making it their highest charting song they ever released. The song also hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 R&B charts in 1962.
Updated May 22, 2023
Top 10 Booker T. & The M.G.’s Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
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