Rob Grill has died. The lead singer and bassist for The Grass Roots passed on at age 67 from a head injury. The Grass Roots were a band frequently overlooked in an era of "serious" hard rock, since they were considered a vehicle for the songwriting and publishing of P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri. And everyone knew back then that real bands wrote all their own material.
However, any greatest hits album you can find is likely to have a number of groovy Grass tunes! And I would rather listen to any of these songs than the collected works of CS&N.
You say you don't like pop music? Or folk-rock? Or the radio? Or your mother? Damn! Maybe it's time you tried!
Let's do ten in honor of Mr. Grill.
10) "Things I Should Have Said": A piano, a drum circle and a pop melody that says "AM GOLD," Grass Roots were destined for oldies radio before it started adding groups like Foreigner!
9) "Bella Linda": This tune sounds like kids walking through the park and coming across a sad, depressed person about to jump into the pond only to be rescued by a chorus that sounds like something the Partridge Family would dream about.
I'd Wait A Million Years": It begins all slow and quiet with an organ that gives you the impression the boys are stuck in church. But then a half-minute later, it kicks in. The parade begins. Celebration ensues! Horns! Harmonies! Free water!
7) "Baby Hold On": This one comes running out of the gate. You hear the world "woman" and you know this tune is about "lovin'." Lots of it. He's coming home and it ain't to do his taxes! Grab the handcuffs, woman. It's happening!
Temptation Eyes": It begins like the Olympics are starting. The rhythm gallops. The horns blare. Life as you know it is about to change forever!
5) "Two Divided By Love": Math rock! As someone who barely survived algebra I'm a little wary to take this song on. But it sounds like a Boy Scout Troop marching up the block to fight the 4-H Club. Who will win?
Where Were You When I Needed You": It begins like it wants to be the b-side of "Eve of Destruction" and then it hangs on for dear life as the harmonies go for broke on the chorus. Recorded several times before there was an actual band!
3) "Sooner or Later": I can't dance but I'd give it a shot with this fine tune. The Grass Roots really had the "marching rock" market cornered. This song was designed for the entire neighborhood to get together, high five and wash their cars in unison!
2) "Midnight Confessions": You have to love white people for coming up with soul music that sounds like they're reading out of textbook. I think this song is about love but it sounds more like a father helping his son with his homework. It rocks!
Let's Live For Today": Now this song gets down and dirty. "I need to feel you inside of me" ? Whoa. Who's busting down the sugar walls in this one? While I certainly can't endorse its message to ignore the imperatives of retirement planning, I can get behind the great vocals and the even greater "1-2-3-4" math lesson found leading into the chorus.
It's also not such bad advice, considering, like Mr. Grill, we will all one day buy the farm.
RIP, Rob Grill.