It was during my set yesterday that a DJ friend of mine, Feliciana Zabaleta, broke the sad news to me. Rob Grill of the Grass Roots had passed away at age 67. I played a few Grass Roots songs as we put the word out of his death and both of us plan to play a few Grass Roots songs during our back to back sets today. Let’s take a look at Rob Grill and the Grass Roots.
The band was originally the brainchild of P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri. The two were looking to put together a band to perform the songs that they wrote. They actually went through two versions of the Grass Roots in 1966, recorded some singles and had some success, but they failed to keep either group together. It was the third version of the Grass Roots that we remember from the 60s and 70s today.
Rob Grill was part of this version of the Grass Roots and played bass and sang. Their first Top 10 hit was Let’s Live for Today in 1967. Between 1967 and 1972, they achieved the unprecedented feat of not going a single week without a song on the Billboard Charts for 307 weeks, charting 29 singles!
In many ways, Rob Grill was the Grass Roots. Of the original lineup, he remained the longest until starting a solo career in 1979. He reformed them again in the 1980s with all new musicians and he continued to play with them well into this century.
Bob suffered a stroke several weeks ago and injured his head when he fell. He had been in a coma ever since. He passed away in a hospital in Orlando, Florida, last Monday. He was a native of California and attended Hollywood High School. Before becoming associated with the Grass Roots, he was already friends with John Kay, later of Steppenwolf, and Cory Wells, later of Three Dog Night.
Feliciana and I both have mini set tributes planned for today. My set is up first and I plan to play the following…
Heaven Knows, 1969Where Were You When I Needed You, 1967
Two Divided by Love, 1971
Things I should Have Said, 1967
Probably not the best known tunes by them, but some great tunes by a great band nonetheless. My friend Feliciana will also be playing some Grass Roots during her set. She plans to play the following, though I’m unsure of the order…
Live for Today, 1967Midnight Confessions, 1968
Temptation Eyes, 1970
We could wait a million years, walk a million miles, cry a million tears, swim the deepest sea, climb the highest hill and we will still never find another Rob Grill.