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The Grass Roots

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(1966 – present)

The Grass Roots is an American and band that began as the studio based brainchild of songwriting duo P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri, yet soon an actual group came into being that was one of the biggest touring bands of the late . Between 1966 and 1975 they had a series of major hits, most notably “Let’s Live for Today”, “Midnight Confessions”, “Sooner or Later”, “Temptation Eyes”, and “Two Divided by Love”, which helped define the essence of the era’s AM radio. During this period they charted 14 U.S. Top 40 hits, including seven gold singles and one platinum single, and albums that collected their singles almost effortlessly went gold.

The group’s history is fairly complicated, because there were at least three different bands involved in the making of the songs identified as being by “the Grass Roots.” The Grass Roots was originated by the writer/producer team of P.F Sloan and Steve Barri as a pseudonym under which they would release a body of The Byrds-style with influences. Sloan and Barri were contracted songwriters for Trousdale Music, the publishing arm of Dunhill Records, which wanted to cash in on the folk-rock boom hitting its stride in 1965.

Dunhill asked Sloan and Barri to come up with this material as well as a phony group alias under which they would release it. The resulting “Grass Roots” debut song, the Byrds pastiche “Where Were You When I Needed You”, was sung by Sloan and soon sent to a Los Angeles, California radio station, which began playing it almost immediately. The problem was, naturally, that there was no “Grass Roots” at that point.

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