Let's Live for Today (song)
|"Let's Live for Today"|
|Single by The Grass Roots|
|from the album Let's Live for Today|
|Released||May 13, 1967|
|The Grass Roots singles chronology|
"Let's Live for Today" is a song written by David "Shel" Shapiro and Italian lyricist Mogol, with additional English lyrics provided by Michael Julien. It was first recorded, with Italian lyrics, under the title of "Piangi Con Me" (translated as "Cry with Me") by the English band the Rokes in 1966. Later, when "Piangi Con Me" was to be released in the United Kingdom, publisher Dick James Music requested that staff writer Julien compose English lyrics for the song. Julien composed new lyrics, rather than translating from the Italian, and it was his input that transformed "Piangi Con Me" into "Let's Live for Today".
The song was popularized by the American rock band the Grass Roots, who released it as a single on May 13, 1967. The Grass Roots' version climbed to number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, eventually selling over two million copies and being awarded a gold disc. The song also became the title track of the Grass Roots' second album, Let's Live for Today. Since its initial release, the Grass Roots' rendition of the song has become a staple of oldies radio programming in America and is today widely regarded by critics as a 1960s classic.
The song that would become "Let's Live for Today" was originally written by English musician David "Shel" Shapiro and Mogol in 1966, with Italian lyrics and the Italian title of "Piangi Con Me" (translated as "Cry with Me"). At the time, Shapiro was a member of the Rokes, an English beat group who had relocated to Italy in 1963 and had signed a recording contract with RCA Italiana the following year. During the mid-1960s, the Rokes became a popular band on the Italian charts, achieving a number of Top 20 hits with Italian-language covers of popular British and American songs. By 1966, however, the band had begun to write their own material, including "Piangi Con Me", which quickly became their biggest hit to date in Italy.
Following its success on the Italian charts, plans were made to release "Piangi Con Me" in the United Kingdom and as a result, the song was translated into English and given the new title of "Passing Thru Grey". However, the song's publisher in Britain, Dick James Music, was unhappy with these lyrics and decided that they should be changed. Michael Julien, a member of the publisher's writing staff, was assigned the task of writing new words for the song and it was his input that transformed it into "Let's Live for Today". Before the Rokes could release the song in the UK, however, another British group named the Living Daylights released a version of it. Ultimately, neither the Living Daylights nor the Rokes would reach the charts with their recording of the song.
The Grass Roots' version
In the United States, the Rokes' version of "Let's Live for Today" found its way to the head of Dunhill Records, who felt that the song would make a suitable single release for the Grass Roots. The composer/producer team of P. F. Sloan and Steve Barri, who managed the Grass Roots' recordings, were also enthusiastic about the song, with Sloan being particularly enamored with the similarities that the song's chorus had to the Drifters' "I Count the Tears". "Let's Live for Today" was recorded by the Grass Roots, with the help of a number of studio musicians, including Sloan on lead guitar, and was released as a single in May 1967. The lead vocal on the Grass Roots' recording was sung by the band's bassist Rob Grill and the distinctive "1-2-3-4" count-in before the chorus was sung by guitarist Warren Entner.
The song quickly became popular with the record buying public, selling over two million copies in the U.S. and finally peaking at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 during June 1967. As well as being popular with domestic American audiences, "Let's Live for Today" also found favor with young American men serving overseas in the Vietnam War, as music critic Bruce Eder of the Allmusic website has noted: "Where the single really struck a resonant chord was among men serving in Vietnam; the song's serious emotional content seemed to overlay perfectly with the sense of uncertainty afflicting most of those in combat; parts of the lyric could have echoed sentiments in any number of letters home, words said on last dates, and thoughts directed to deeply missed wives and girlfriends." Eder also described "Let's Live for Today" by the Grass Roots as "one of the most powerful songs and records to come out of the 1960s."
In addition to its appearance on the Grass Roots' Let's Live for Today album, the song also appears on several of the band's compilations, including Golden Grass, Their 16 Greatest Hits, Anthology: 1965–1975, and All Time Greatest Hits.
Along with the Rokes, the Living Daylights, and the Grass Roots, the song has also been recorded by a number of other bands, including Tempest, the Lords of the New Church, the Slickee Boys, the dB's, and Dreamhouse.
Uses in popular culture
- "Let's Live for Today review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-05-03.
- Clemens, Fred. "Let's Live for Today". Bob Shannon: Behind the Hits. Archived from the original on August 4, 2007. Retrieved May 5, 2010.
- Everett, Todd (1996). All Time Greatest Hits (CD booklet). The Grass Roots. MCA Records. MCAMD-11467.
- Whitburn, Joel. (2008). Top Pop Singles 1955-2006. Record Research Inc. p. 353. ISBN 0-89820-172-1.
- Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 222. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
- "Let's Live for Today album review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-05-03.
- "The Rokes Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-05-05.
- "Let's Live for Today cover versions". Allmusic. Retrieved 2019-08-25.
- "Wild America soundtrack listing". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2010-05-05.
- "Wild America Soundtrack Album". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-05-05.
- "R.P.M. 100", RPM Weekly, Volume 7, No. 18, July 1, 1967. Accessed May 25, 2016
- "flavour of new zealand - search listener". Flavourofnz.co.nz. Retrieved 2016-05-24.
- "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
- [Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-2002]
- "Cash Box Top 100 7/15/67". 126.96.36.199. 1967-07-15. Archived from the original on 2013-12-29. Retrieved 2016-05-24.
- "Top 20 Hit Singles of 1967". Retrieved 2 September 2018.
- "Top 100 Hits of 1967/Top 100 Songs of 1967". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved 2016-05-24.
- "Cash Box YE Pop Singles - 1967". 188.8.131.52. 1967-12-23. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved 2016-05-24.