The Grass Roots

The Grass Roots

:"This article is about a U.S. band. For other uses, see Grass roots (disambiguation)."Infobox musical artist |
Name = The Grass Roots

Img_capt = Left to Right: Warren Entner, Creed Bratton, Rob Grill and Rick Coonce circa 1969
Img_size =
Landscape =
Background = group_or_band
Origin = Los Angeles, California
Genre = Rock - Pop
Years_active = 1966 - Present
Label = Dunhill - ABC - MCA
Associated_acts =
URL = []

The Grass Roots are a U.S. rock and roll band that charted between 1966 and 1975 as the brainchild of songwriting duo P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri.

In their career, The Grass Roots achieved one platinum album, two gold albums, thirteen gold singles and charted singles a total of twenty nine times.1Between 1967 and 1972, The Grass Roots set a record for being on the Billboard charts for 307 straight weeks.1They are one of only nine bands that have charted twenty nine or more Top 100 Billboard singles. 1They have sold over thirty million records worldwide.1

Since the disbanding of the original group in 1975, early member Rob Grill and a newer group of Grass Roots continue to perform and tour with many shows each year. They hold the all time attendance record for one act, the US concert of 600,000 people on July 4, 1982 in Washington, DC.1 They recently released a live album chronicling their fourteen Top 40 Billboard hits titled "Live Gold" in 2008.

The founding years

The name "Grass Roots" originated in 1965 as the name of a band project by the Los Angeles, California songwriter and producer duo of P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri. Sloan and Barri had written several songs in an attempt by their record company, Dunhill Records to cash in on the budding folk rock movement. One of these songs was "Where Were You When I Needed You," which was recorded by Sloan and Barri and a now forgotten line-up of studio musicians. Sloan provided the lead vocals and played guitar. The song was released under "The Grass Roots" name and sent, as a demo, to several radio stations of the San Francisco Bay area.

When moderate interest in this new "band" arose, Sloan and Barri went to look for a group that could incorporate The Grass Roots name. They found one in a San Francisco group named "The Bedouins" and cut a new version with that band's lead vocalist, Willie Fulton. In 1965, the Grass Roots got their first official airplay on Southern California radio stations, such as KGB(AM) in San Diego and KHJ in Los Angeles with a version of the Bob Dylan song, "Mr. Jones (Ballad Of A Thin Man)." For some months, The Bedouins were the first "real" Grass Roots — but the partnership with Sloan and Barri broke up when the band demanded more space for their own more blues rock-oriented material (which their producers were not willing to give them). Willie Fulton, Denny Ellis and David Stensen went back to San Francisco, with drummer Joel Larson the only one who remained (he was to become a member of a later Grass Roots line-up, as well). In the meantime, the second version of "Where Were You When I Needed You" peaked in the top 40 in mid-1966; an album of the same name sold poorly, probably because there were no Grass Roots anymore to promote it at the time of its release.

The years of success

The group's third — and by far most successful — incarnation was finally found in a Los Angeles band, called The 13th Floor (not to be confused with the 13th Floor Elevators). This band consisted of Creed Bratton, Rick Coonce, Warren Entner and Kenny Fukomoto and had formed only a year earlier before submitting a demo tape to Dunhill Records. [ [ Biography ] ] Rob Grill was recruited into the band when Fukomoto was suddenly drafted into the army. The band was offered the choice to go with their own name or choose to adopt a name that had already been heard of nationwide.

They had their first top 10 hit with "Let's Live For Today" in the summer of 1967 as The Grass Roots. With Rob Grill as lead singer, they recorded a third version of "Where Were You When I Needed You." The band continued in a similar hit-making vein for the next five years ('67-'72). In the beginning, they were one of many U.S. guitar pop/rock bands, but with the help of Barri and their other producers, they developed a unique sound for which they drew as heavily on British beat as on soul music, rhythm and blues and folk rock. Many of their recordings featured a brass section, which was a novelty in those days among American rock bands, with groups like Chicago just developing.

The Grass Roots songs hitting the radio in these times include "Things I Should Have Said" (1967), "Midnight Confessions" (1968), "Bella Linda", "Lovin' Things", "The River Is Wide", "Wait A Million Years", "Heaven Knows" (1969), "Walking Through The Country", "Baby Hold On", "Temptation Eyes" (1970), "Sooner Or Later" (1971) and "Two Divided By Love" (1972). The bulk of the band's material continued to be written by Dunhill Records staff (not only Sloan and Barri). The Grass Roots also recorded songs written by the group's musicians, which appeared on their albums and the B-sides of many hit singles.

In 1969, Creed Bratton left and was replaced by Dennis Provisor on keyboards and vocals, plus rotating lead guitarists Terry Furlong and Brian Naughton to form a quintet — the first of many line-up changes that the band was to be subject to. In 1971, Rick Coonce, Terry Furlong, Brian Naughton and Dennis Provisor left and were replaced by Reed Kailing, Virgil Weber and original member Joel Larson. The singer/songwriter/guitarist duo of Warren Entner (later a successful heavy metal manager) and Rob Grill remained the point of focus in all these years.

The final years

From 1970 on, success slipped away slowly but surely. The Grass Roots had their last top 10 hit with "Sooner Or Later" in June, 1971, and success with "Two Divided By Love" not long after. Their final two hits in 1972 were "The Runway" and "Glory Bound." Follow-up singles sold disappointingly or failed to chart altogether - it was clear that their time was over. The 1976 single "Out In The Open" became their swan song, with the band having disbanded the previous autumn.

Rob Grill remained in the music business and launched a solo career in 1979 (assisted on his solo album by several members of Fleetwood Mac). When interest in bands of the 1960s began to rise again in the 1980s, Grill reformed The Grass Roots (now as "The Grass Roots Starring Rob Grill") and tours the United States. He continues to lead the band into the new millennium and is the voice of The Grass Roots, playing many live performances up to the present day.

In 2006, former manager Marty Angelo published a book entitled, "Once Life Matters: A New Beginning" which has numerous stories about his life on the road with Rob Grill and The Grass Roots back in the early 1970s.



*1966 - Mr. Jones (Ballad Of A Thin Man) / You're A Lonely Girl (US #121)
*1966 - Where Were You When I Needed You / These Are Bad Times (US #28)
*1966 - Only When You're Lonely / This Is What I Was Made For (US #96)
*1967 - Tip Of My Tongue / Look Out Girl
*1967 - Let's Live For Today / Depressed Feeling (US #8)
*1967 - Things I Should Have Said / Tip Of My Tongue (US #23)
*1967 - Wake Up, Wake Up / No Exit (US #68)
*1968 - Melody For You / Hey Friend (US #123)
*1968 - Feelings / Here's Where You Belong
*1968 - Midnight Confessions / Who Will You Be Tomorrow (US #5) Gold Record - RIAA Certification
*1969 - Bella Linda* / Hot Bright Lights (US #28) (*composed by Italian superstar Lucio Battisti)
*1969 - Melody For You / All Good Things Come To An End
*1969 - Lovin' Things / You And Love Are The Same (US #49)
*1969 - The River Is Wide / (You Gotta) Live For Love (US #31)
*1969 - I'd Wait A Million Years / Fly Me To Havana (US #15)
*1969 - Heaven Knows / Don't Remind Me (US #24)
*1970 - Walking Through The Country / Truck Drivin' Man (US #44)
*1970 - Baby Hold On / Get It Together (US #35)
*1970 - Come On And Say It / Something's Comin' Over Me (US #61)
*1970 - Temptation Eyes / Keepin' Me Down (US #15)
*1971 - Sooner Or Later / I Can Turn Off The Rain (US #9)
*1971 - Two Divided By Love / Let It Go (US #16)
*1972 - Glory Bound / Only One (US #34)
*1972 - The Runway / Move Along (US #39)
*1972 - Anyway The Wind Blows / Monday Love (US #107)
*1973 - Love Is What You Make It / Someone To Love (US #55)
*1973 - Where There's Smoke There's Fire / Look But Don't Touch
*1973 - We Can't Dance To Your Music / Look But Don't Touch
*1973 - Stealin' Love (In The Night) / We Almost Made It Together
*1975 - Mamacita / The Last Time Around (US #71)
*1975 - Naked Man / Nothing Good Comes Easy
*1976 - Out In The Open / Optical Illusion
*1982 - Here Comes That Feeling Again / Temptation Eyes
*1982 - She Don't Know Me / Keep On Burning
*1982 - Powers Of The Night / Powers Of The Night


*1966 - "Where Were You When I Needed You"
*1967 - "Let’s Live For Today" (US #75)
*1968 - "Feelings"
*1968 - "Golden Grass" (US #25) Gold Record - RIAA Certification
*1969 - "Lovin' Things" (US #73)
*1969 - "Leavin’ It All Behind" (US #36)
*1970 - "More Golden Grass" (US #152)
*1971 - "Their 16 Greatest Hits" (US #58) Gold Record - RIAA Certification
*1972 - "Move Along" (US #86)
*1973 - "Alotta' Mileage"
*1975 - "Self Titled"
*1978 - "14 Greats"
*1982 - "Powers Of The Night"
*2000 - "Live At Last"
*2001 - "Symphonic Hits"
*2008 - "Live Gold"

Pop culture

* The name Grass Roots was used sporadically by Arthur Lee of Love, in the Los Angeles area. Dunhill Records secured the legal use of the name by releasing a record, which Lee never did.
* The band was seen in the Doris Day film "With Six You Get Eggroll". They play the song "Feelings" at a crowded dance party.
* The Grass Roots have appeared on over 50 national television shows including, "The Tonight Show", "The Today Show", Ed Sullivan, Andy Williams, Sonny & Cher, "Good Morning America", VH1 Hit-Makers, MTV, and a record sixteen times on Dick Clark’s "American Bandstand".
* The 1975 "Self Titled" LP is seen in the film "FM". The back cover appears in a long DJ broadcast room scene with characters played by Cleavon Little and Martin Mull.
* The band is mentioned by John Candy's character in the film "Uncle Buck". He comments about the music while navigating a teenage party looking for his missing niece.
*Guitarist Creed Bratton plays a character also named Creed Bratton, a fictional version of himself, in the US version of the television show "The Office". In a scene that never aired from the episode "Booze Cruise," Bratton's boss, Michael, borrowed the guitar from a cruise ship's band and plays it poorly. Bratton then takes the guitar from Michael and proceeds to surprise the rest of the passengers with his excellent playing. The scene then cuts to a confessional, where Bratton talks of his time with The Grass Roots, complete with pictures of the actual band and references to actual tours. In another deleted scene from the episode "Product Recall," a fictional "Scranton Times" writer notices Bratton was a member of The Grass Roots. He also sang one of his own songs titled "Spinnin' N Reelin'" in the episode "A Benihana Christmas."
* The band is mentioned frequently on the nationally syndicated Don and Mike radio show. Don Geronimo has sat in with the band several times at performances in the Washington DC area.
* The Grass Roots version of the Bob Dylan song, "Ballad Of A Thin Man", was featured in the 1987 Robin Williams film "Good Morning, Vietnam".
* The Grass Roots song "Midnight Confessions" was featured in the 1997 film "Jackie Brown".



*Steve Barri (Steven Barry Lipkin, b. February 23 ,1942, Brooklyn) — Various Instruments, Producer, Songwriter
*Denny Ellis — Rhythm Guitar
*Willie Fulton — Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar
*Joel Larson — (b. April 29, 1947, San Francisco) - drums
*P.F. Sloan (Philip Gary Schlein, September 18, 1945, New York) — Lead Vocals, Various Instruments, Producer, Songwriter
*David Stensen — (b. February 25, 1947, San Bruno) - Bass Guitar

Classic Lineup 1967–1971

*Creed Bratton (b. February 8, 1943, Los Angeles) — Lead Guitar, Lead Vocals, Songwriter (to 1969)
*Rick Coonce (b. Erik Michael Coonce, August 1, 1946, Los Angeles) — Drums, Songwriter
*Warren Entner (b. July 7, 1944, Boston) — Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Songwriter
*Terry Furlong (b. December 31, 1942, London) — Lead Guitar (1969-71)
*Rob Grill (Robert Frank Grill, b. November 30, 1943, Los Angeles) — Lead Vocals, Bass Guitar, Songwriter
*Brian Naughton — Lead Guitar (1969-71)
*Dennis Provisor (b. November 9, 1950, Los Angeles) — Lead Vocals, keyboards, Songwriter (1969-71)


*Warren Entner — Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Songwriter
*Rob Grill — Lead Vocals, Bass Guitar, Songwriter
*Reed Kailing — Lead Guitar, Songwriter (1972-74)
*Reggie Knighton (b. November 3, 1953, Biloxi) — Lead Guitar (1974-75)
*Joel Larson — Drums
*Terry Dailey — Drums
*Dennis Provisor — Lead Vocals, Keyboards, Songwriter
*Virgil Weber — Keyboards (1972-74)


*Rick Alexander — Lead Guitar
*Steve Berndt — Bass Guitar
*Brian Carlyss — Bass Guitar
*Terry Danauer — Bass Guitar
*Alan Deane — Lead Guitar, lead/background vocals
*Coy Fuller — Drums
*Ralph Gilmore — Drums
*Rob Grill — Lead Vocals, Bass Guitar, Songwriter
*Scott Hoyt — Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar
*Joel Larson — Drums
*Charles Judge — Keyboards
*Reagan McKinley — Drums
*Luke Mearett — Drums
*David Nagy — Lead Vocals, Bass Guitar
*Terry Oubre — Lead Guitar
*David Page — Drums
*Dennis Provisor — Lead Vocals, Keyboards, Songwriter
*Hal Ratliff — Keyboards
*Dave Rodgers — Keyboards
*Scott Sechman - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*Glen Shulfer — Lead Guitar
*Mike Steck — Bass Guitar
*Gene Wall — Keyboards, Vocals

*Mark Dawson - Secondary Bass Guitar and Vocals
*Joe Dougherty — Drums
*Rob Grill — Lead Vocals, Bass Guitar, Songwriter
*Dusty Hanvey — Lead Guitar
*Chris Merrell — Secondary Guitar
*Larry Nelson — Keyboards


1 [ Billboard] 1 []

External links

* [ — Official Site]
* [ The Grass Roots at]
* []
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* [ Gunga Dave Stensen]
* [ Fan Group]
* [ Fan Page]
* [ Band History]
* [ WVOK Shower of Stars Shows] archival images
* [ Marty] former manager.
* [] Scott Sechman

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