Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Forgotten Hits Remembers Rob Grill

Today Forgotten Hits remembers Rob Grill, lead singer of The Grass Roots, who passed away yesterday after injuries he sustained in a fall a few weeks ago.

It is no secret that Rob has had a rough couple of years of late ... on-going health issues, repeated hip replacement surgeries (which led to a dependency on pain medication) and the loss of his son last year have slowly whittled away at the health and spirit of this well-loved man.  After a recent fall that caused a blow to the head which damaged his brain, Grill reportedly suffered a couple of strokes before lapsing into a coma, where he remained in critical condition for the last couple of weeks.  Erroneous reports of his death came through our email almost daily and I suppose for most it was a foregone conclusion that Rob most likely wasn't going to make it this time ... but it's still sad to think that Rob Grill is now longer with us.  He brought joy to so many millions of fans over the years ... and now he's gone.

But the music of The Grass Roots will live on forever.  Between 1966 and 1972, The Grass Roots scored 18 National Top 40 Hits ... and these records did EXTREMELY well here in Chicago where they typically out-performed their national chart showing.  (Check out The Grass Roots Hit List at the end of today's piece.)

I want to thank everyone so very, very much for all your prayers for Rob and Nancy Grill.
Unfortunately, I have very sad news to pass along at this time.  I'm going to send you what was posted on thegrassroots yahoo group today:
Nancy Grill called this morning, July 11th, to inform me that Rob had passed away. Details will come later. She said she was sending a message for the group and asked me to post it for her.

Here's the sad news ... What follows is Nancy Grill's official statement
(as posted on her Facebook Page):

My dear husband Robert Frank Grill, 67, of Mt Dora, Fl, passed away peacefully in my arms at 11:37 a.m. (EST), while listening to one of his favorite songs ... "Let's Live For Today."  He loved his fans and he loved The Grass Roots!
Thank you for all of your prayers, love and support during this time.
Nancy Grill

Rob will be missed very much ... but I know he is home with God and will no longer experience the extreme pain he lived with for the last several years.
Thanks again for all your prayers.  Please continue to keep Nancy in your prayers over the difficult time ahead.

Carl Giammarese of The Buckinghams sent me HIS official statement (which was also posted on The Buckinghams' website.)  Carl and Nick have toured with The Grass Roots on countless occasions, most recently as part of last year's Happy Together Again Tour.  (The Grass Roots are appearing with The Buckinghams, The Association, Mark Lindsay and The Turtles again this year but Rob Grill was not scheduled to be part of this tour.)

*Remembering Rob Grill, with Respect and Love* 
Ever since hearing of Rob’s recent injury and entry into a coma state, he’s been in our thoughts and prayers, uppermost in our hearts and minds. Many of us on this year’s Happy Together Tour have noticed his absence this time out on the road. Today, as I just learned that Rob has passed away, I find it hard to accept that fact. My heart is full. Our thoughts are prayers are with his family at this time, and we send them our love and respect. And there is a void in the family of the Happy Together Tour, as we stop and remember that Rob, of all people, belongs right here with us on stage, right now, the center of attention and often the life of the party.
You can’t really say the words “Rob Grill” without smiling. When Rob was healthy, he was such fun to be around, a true wit onstage and off. He loved being on stage more than anything because he related so well to people who loved the music of The Grass Roots. And, if memory serves, it was 29 years ago this month, July 4, 1982, on the Mall in Washington, DC, that The Grass Roots set an all-time attendance record. That record still stands.
He made you feel good to hear their shows, because clearly he loved what he did.  Rob’s wit and banter with audiences always made you laugh, no matter how long we’d been on the road with him, or no matter how tired we were.
Already in the first three shows of the Happy Together tour this week, Nick and I have missed Rob. We remember several good times last year when he was with us, and during the past 20 years of doing all the shows together that we did. That’s how we plan to remember Rob — on the road with us, right in the center of the action.
We respect and admire our friends, singer / bassist, Mark Dawson and guitarist / vocals, Dusty Hanvey, Joe Dougherty, drums, and Larry Nelson, keyboards / vocals — Rob’s closest music friends. These professionals have had to perform the music of the Grass Roots for everyone who loves them for several months now, without being able to take time to personally grieve Rob’s illness and, now, his passing.
Now, when we hear “Sooner or Later”, “Two Divided by Love”, “Midnight Confessions” and all the other hits, it will stand as an affirmation of the legacy Rob leaves all of us, entertainers and audience alike: his love for some of the greatest music we’ve ever enjoyed. Tonight, the show, as always, must go on.  And I know Rob would have wanted it that way, more than anyone.
When we think of Rob Grill, we remember his smile, his dedication to performing, and his devotion to keeping the music alive for all of us. On behalf of The Buckinghams, our prayers are for comfort for Rob’s family, and for all of us who knew and loved this man of music, one of the driving forces behind a generation of the music we still love today.
Carl Giammarese
July 11, 2011

Rob Grill, the lead singer of The Grass Roots, died today of after-effects from a fall a couple of weeks ago. He was 67. Grill leaves behind his wife Nancy. His only son died last year. 
Grill suffered a serious head injury when he fell in Lake Country, north of San Francisco, according to a message his wife Nancy posted on The TopShelf Times, last week. 
Prior to his passing, Nancy Grill wrote, " A CT scan showed a rupture in the layers of the brain." She adds that the night he fell he suffered two strokes, each located in different areas of the brain, which required his being put on a ventilator."
-- Tom Cuddy

We got this sentiment from SEVERAL people on the list:

Grass Roots lead singer passed away this afternoon.  He will be missed.
Shelley -- Larry -- Ed -- Bob R. -- Diane -- Rick S.

But also this:

I am sure you heard about Rob Grill. We will miss his fantastic voice. I hope they disband the Grassroots. Not to have any original members and not having Rob there to sing will be impossible to try and duplicate. In memory I will be wearing my Grassroots t-shirt at Elk Grove tomorrow. The least I can do in his memory.

Actually, it sounds like The Grass Roots currently performing on The Happy Together Again Tour are doing so with Rob's blessing ... and, from some of the reports we've heard after the first three shows, doing a bang-up job with the material.  (I believe most of these guys had been with Rob for a while anyway.)  This is a tough call ... without a single original member onboard, it kinda goes against the whole Truth In Music campaign ... but there are fans out there who love and still want to hear this music.  Perhaps they can turn this into more of a Rob Grill Tribute or something, honoring the great music of The Grass Roots.  (I half expect Dennis Tufano to sing something from The Grass Roots Catalog tonight ... he's done extensive shows with Sonny Geraci of The Outsiders ... and a few years back when Rob Grill was having health problems, Sonny filled a number of his spots, singing all of The Grass Roots' hits ... and, by ALL reports, did a FANTASTIC job.  If he happens to be in town tonight, I fully expect him to delight the crowd with one or two of these.)  kk

Rob Grill, lead singer with the Grass Roots, died Monday (July 11) after falling a month ago and suffering a brain injury. Rob's wife had reported July 1 that he was stricken with pneumonia and was in a coma. Rob was 67.
Born in Hollywood, he graduated from Hollywood High, then went to work at American Recording Studios there. Encouraged to record on his own, he joined the 13th Floor when their lead singer was drafted. The group came to the attention of producer / writers P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri, who were looking for a band who could portray their studio creation, the Grass Roots, in 1967. Starting with "Let's Live For Today" (#8), the group -- with Rob providing lead vocals -- notched 13 top hits, including "Midnight Confessions" (#5 - 1968), "Sooner Or Later" (#9 - 1971), "I'd Wait A Million Years" (#15 - 1969), "Temptation Eyes" (#15 - 1971) and "Two Divided By Love" (#16 - 1971). By 1975 the hits dried up and Rob started a solo career four years later, though he retained the rights to the group name and reformed them in 1982. It came to light when Rob was arrested for illegally obtaining prescription painkillers in 2007 that he had a bone-degenerating disease and had undergone six hip replacement surgeries. Rob underwent an intervention program to avoid jail time. His failing health forced him to withdraw from fronting the group last year.
-- Ron Smith  www.oldiesmusic.com

1966 - Where Were You When I Needed You   (National Peak = #28; Chicago Peak = #27)
1967 - Let's Live For Today  (National = #5; Chicago = #4)
1967 - Things I Should Have Said  (National = #23; Chicago = #30)
1968 - Midnight Confessions  (National = #5; Chicago = #2)
1969 - Bella Linda  (National = #20; Chicago = #12)
1969 - Lovin' Things  (National = #35; Chicago = #25)
1969 - The River Is Wide  (National = #16; Chicago = xx)
1969 - I'd Wait A Million Years  (National = #12; Chicago = #5)
1969 - Heaven Knows  (National = #13; Chicago = #22)
1970 - Walking Through The Country (National = #30; Chicago = #35)
1970 - Baby Hold On  (National = #25; Chicago = xx)
1970 - Come On And Say It  (National = #39; Chicago = xx)
1971 - Temptation Eyes  (National = #15; Chicago = #23)
1971 - Sooner Or Later  (National = #9; Chicago = #5)
1971 - Two Divided By Love  (National = #8; Chicago = #5)
1972 - Glory Bound  (National = #22; Chicago = #7)
1972 - The Runaway  (National = #29; Chicago = #10)
1973 - Love Is What You Make It  (National = #32; Chicago = xx)
Here's another one of my "forgotten favorites":