The Grass Roots: Wikis


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The Grass Roots
Origin Los Angeles, California
Genres Folk rock, Psychedelic folk, Psychedelic rock, Pop rock
Years active 1966 - Present
Labels Dunhill - ABC - Haven - MCA

The Grass Roots are a U.S. rock 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, one gold single and charted singles a total of 21 times. [1][2] Between 1967 and 1972, The Grass Roots set a record for being on the Billboard charts for 307 straight weeks. They have sold over thirty million records worldwide.

Since the disbanding of the original group in 1975, early member Rob Grill and a newer lineup of The Grass Roots continue to play many live shows each year. The band holds the U.S. attendance record for a concert consisting of only one act, by performing for approximately 600,000 people on July 4, 1982 in Washington, D.C. [3]. The band released a new 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. [4] 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.

As The Grass Roots, they had their first top 10 hit in the summer of 1967 with "Let's Live For Today" (an English cover of "Piangi con me", a 1966 hit for the Italian quartet The Rokes). 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 (1967–1972). 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 "Let's Live For Today" and "Things I Should Have Said" (1967); "Midnight Confessions" (1968); "Bella Linda", "Lovin' Things", "The River Is Wide", "Wait A Million Years", and "Heaven Knows" (1969); "Walking Through The Country", "Baby Hold On", and "Temptation Eyes" (1971); "Sooner Or Later" (1971); and "Two Divided By Love" (1971). 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. The most successful of their hit singles were "Let's Live For Today" (U.S. #8) in 1967, "Midnight Confessions" (U.S. #5, their biggest hit) in 1968, "Wait A Million Years" (U.S. #15) in 1969, "Temptation Eyes" (U.S. #15) in 1971, "Sooner Or Later" (U.S. #9) in 1971, and "Two Divided By Love" (U.S. #16) in 1971.

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 with groups such as Rage Against the Machine and Quiet Riot) 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.

Since 2005, Creed Bratton can be seen as "Creed Bratton", Quality Assurance Officer, in the American NBC television situation comedy The Office.[5] He continues to write songs and has released several solo albums, including Chasin' the Ball, The '80s, Coarsegold, and Creed Bratton.[6]




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

++Gold Record - RIAA Certification +++Composed by Italian superstar Lucio Battisti)


  • 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 song "Let's Live For Today" has the identical Italian melody and virtually the same arrangement that was used in an earlier song called "Be Mine Again"; although this song includes the "One, Two, Three, Four" and "Sha-La-La-La-La" as in The Grass Roots hit, the lyrics are otherwise different. The version by the Dutch band The Skope that was released in 1966 is included on the Pebbles, Volume 15 LP.
  • 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 poorly plays a version of "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple. 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 was mentioned frequently on the nationally syndicated Don and Mike radio show. Don Geronimo 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.
  • The Grass Roots song "Let's Live For Today" was used in a 2008 TV commercial to promote the Volkswagen Routan.



Classic Lineup 1967–1971

  • Creed Bratton (b. William Charles Schneider, 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 (b. Robert Frank Grill, 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, Producer
  • Rob Grill — Lead Vocals, Bass Guitar, Songwriter, Producer
  • 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)
  • Gene Barkin — Guitar, Vocals
  • Terry Furlong — Lead Guitar


  • 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. ^ Whitburn, Joel (Jan 2000). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits (7th ed.). Watson-Guptill Publications. p. 262. ISBN 0823076903.  
  2. ^ Grass Roots at Allmusic
  3. ^ "The Grass Roots Official Site ((( Official Biography )))" (in English). The Grass Roots. Retrieved 2009-08-18.  
  4. ^ Biography
  5. ^ "Creed Bratton" (in English)., Inc.. Retrieved 2009-06-18.  
  6. ^ "allmusic ((( Creed Bratton Discography Main Albums )))" (in English). allmusic. Retrieved 2009-06-18.  

External links

Simple English

The Grass Roots were a pop music group, popular in the 1960s. They formed in Los Angeles, USA in 1964.


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