Where Were You When I Needed You
|Where Were You When I Needed You|
|Studio album by The Grass Roots|
Varèse Sarabande (CD 1994)
Rev-Ola Records (CD 2005)
|Producer||P.F. Sloan & Steve Barri|
|The Grass Roots chronology|
Where Were You When I Needed You is the first album released by The Grass Roots. Most of the album is performed by the duo of P.F. Sloan and Steve Barri, although some of the album features a San Francisco band, including lead singer Willie "Bill" Fulton. The band was formerly known as the Bedouins and later known as the Unquenchable Thirst.
Sloan and Barri had written the song "Where Were You When I Needed You" for the Hermans Hermits movie Hold On! When the Hermits chose not to release the song as the follow-up single to the Sloan-Barri song "A Must to Avoid", Sloan and Barri were able to persuade their boss, Dunhill Records head Lou Adler, to let them record a single version of the song in 1965. However, Dunhill insisted that they find a "real group" to tour as the Grass Roots, since they were too valuable to Dunhill as songwriters for the label to allow them to perform live concerts or make personal appearances.
Sloan and Barri ended up signing a San Francisco band named the Bedouins to become the Grass Roots. The band consisted of lead singer/lead guitarist Willie "Bill" Fulton, rhythm guitarist Denny Ellis, bassist David Stensen and drummer Joel Larson. The band quickly had no shortage of live performances, as they became a resident band at the Los Angeles club "The Trip" and made frequent appearances at San Francisco's Avalon Ballroom. They also supported Dunhill acts The Mamas and the Papas, Johnny Rivers and Barry McGuire on TV performances. However, with the exception of Fulton's vocals and Larson on drums, they did not appear on Grass Roots records, which featured Sloan and various session musicians.
The band's single version of Bob Dylan's "Ballad of a Thin Man" (issued under the name "Mr. Jones") only reached the lower reaches of the Billboard Magazine charts, peaking at #121 in late 1965. A new single of "Where Were You When I Needed You", with Fulton's voice replacing Sloan's as the lead vocal, was finally released in June 1966 and reached the Top 40, peaking at #28. But that success was too late for the band members, who were frustrated by Dunhill's reluctance to let them record as a band. Although much of the first album had already been recorded at that time, the band (except for Larson) decided to return to San Francisco in mid-1966 and became the Unquenchable Thirst.
Fulton later was guitarist and vocalist in Tower of Power on their albums East Bay Grease (1970), Bump City (1972), Direct (1981) and Power (1987). Ellis and Stensen joined a San Francisco group named The Serpent Power led by Beat poet David Meltzer and his wife Tina. They released a self-titled album in 1967.
After the band quit, Sloan once again took over as lead singer of the Grass Roots sessions, as he had been on the original demos. Sloan stated that Dunhill policy at the time required albums to include "other people's hits" that "they were trying to get into stores", which is why the album does not feature only Sloan-Barri originals. Because there was no longer a band for personal appearances or live concerts, though, the Sloan-Barri duo was never able to recapture the success of "Where Were You When I Needed You". The 12-track album featured three songs sung by Fulton and the rest by Sloan, including Sloan's original single version of "Where Were You When I Needed You" instead of Fulton's, but it failed to chart.
In 1994, when the original CD version of the album was released on Varèse Sarabande, six bonus tracks were included. Five were sung by Fulton and one, the single A-side "Tip of My Tongue", by Sloan. Thus, this version of the album included 10 songs sung by Sloan and 8 by Fulton.
An English CD reissue on Rev-Ola Records in 2005 included all of the previous tracks plus two more bonus tracks: the versions of the title song sung by Fulton and subsequent Grass Roots lead singer Rob Grill.
in 1965, a year earlier before The Grass Roots released the album, Jan & Dean recorded the song "Where Were You When I Needed You" on their album, Folk 'n Roll.
- "Only When You're Lonely" – 3:09
- "Look Out Girl" - 2:16
- "Ain't That Lovin' You, Baby" (Jimmy Reed)** - 2:48
- "I've Got No More To Say" - 2:47
- "I Am a Rock" (Paul Simon) - 3:01
- "Lollipop Train (You Never Had It So Good)" - 3:09
- "Where Were You When I Needed You" - 3:01
- "You Didn't Have to Be So Nice" (John Sebastian, Steve Boone) - 2:19
- "Tell Me" (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards)** - 3:24
- "You Baby" - 2:20
- "This Is What I Was Made For" - 2:22
- "Mr. Jones (Ballad of a Thin Man)" (Bob Dylan)** - 2:54
CD Bonus Tracks (1994)
- "You're a Lonely Girl"** - 2:21
- "(These Are) Bad Times"** - 3:04
- "Tip of My Tongue" - 2:32
- "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" (John Lennon, Paul McCartney)** - 2:50
- "Hitch Hike" (Marvin Gaye, William "Mickey" Stevenson, Clarence Paul)** - 2:39
- "Eve of Destruction" (P.F. Sloan)** - 3:35
Additional CD Bonus Tracks (2005)
- "Where Were You When I Needed You" (single version)** - 3:01
- "Where Were You When I Needed You" (third version, sung by Rob Grill, from Let's Live for Today) - 2:59
- P.F. Sloan - lead and backing vocals, guitars, co-producer
- Steve Barri - backing vocals, percussion, co-producer
- Willie "Bill" Fulton - lead vocals on songs marked **
- Joel Larson - drums
- Bones Howe - drums
- Larry Knechtel - keyboards
- Other personnel unknown