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June 27, 1996|JAMES E. FOWLER

FRIDAY: Soul Man Cometh

Soul singer and minister Al Green comes to the Universal Amphitheatre on Friday.

Considered by many to be one of the great R & B singers of all time, Green's musical roots are firmly set in gospel soil. He first sang professionally in a gospel quartet with his brothers when he was 9 years old. Later, he moved to pop music, but never left gospel far behind.

Starting in 1970, Green had a string of hit records that included "Tired of Being Alone," "Let's Stay Together" and "Here I Am (Come and Take Me)." Green was the winner of eight Grammys and has since been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In October 1974, Green was hospitalized for second-degree burns, inflicted when a former girlfriend poured boiling grits on him while he was taking a bath. She then committed suicide. Five years later, Green fell off a stage while performing and narrowly escaped serious injury. Taking these events as signs from God, Green became a minister, left the pop world and went back to gospel music. He limited his appearances to religious services at his own church in Memphis and other venues around the country. His recordings were entirely of religious material.

Last November, Green's "Your Heart's in Good Hands," his first secular U.S. album in almost 20 years, was released by MCA Records. The Times' Robert Hilburn asked Green if he felt closer to gospel or pop.

"I can't put myself in one little teardrop and say, 'This is Al Green,' " he replied. "As you go on, you find out really how big our creator is and that he gave you all those songs."

* Soul singer Al Green at 8:15 p.m. Friday at the Universal Amphitheatre, 100 Universal City Plaza. Tickets are $20-$45. Call (213) 480-3232.

All for a Worthy Cause

Everybody likes benefits.

Performers feel good about doing them; audiences get to enjoy themselves without feeling guilty because they know their bucks are going for some worthy cause.

Valley residents have a few to choose from this week, including those for the Little Friend Foundation at Mancini's in Canoga Park, for Theatre of Hope for Abused Women at the American Renegade Theatre in North Hollywood and for Permanent Charities of the Entertainment Industry at Universal Studios. Here are two more.

Pierce College's Athletic Department will have a Big Band Benefit Dance, starring the Bill Elliott Swing Orchestra along with vocalists Amy Weston and the Lucky Stars, Friday night at the Warner Center Marriott Hotel. Pierce's sports information director, Mac McDonald, has been promoting these dances, which usually draw 400 to 600 people, for almost eight years. Chuck Cecil will emcee. Dress to impress.

Theatre Insite, the company that did live stage productions of "Romeo and Juliet," "A History of Shadows" and "Trojan Women" at the CBS Studio Center in Studio City the last three summers, holds a dinner-dance fund-raiser this year, Saturday night at the same venue.

Hosted by actor Robert Mandan, formerly of the sitcom "Soap," the event will star celebrities Linda Purl, Carlos Alazraqui and Tim Russ, with music by Jimmy & the Gigolos, Eddie Baytos & the Nervis Brothers and others.

* Warner Center Marriott Hotel, 21850 Oxnard St., Woodland Hills, hosts a Big Band Benefit Dance 8:30 p.m.-midnight Friday. Tickets are $15. Call (818) 704-9725.

* CBS Studio Center, 4024 Radford St., Studio City, hosts Theatre Insite's summer fund-raiser dinner-dance at 7 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $40. After 10 p.m., dancing-only admission is $10 per person. Call (213) 466-1767.

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