Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Johnny Lee VS. The Grass Roots

The Grass Roots are a band that I discovered relatively recently, and I still find that a little odd. They put out a number of enjoyable pop songs, such as "Temptation Eyes", "Midnight Confessions" and "Two Divided By One", that really hold up well all these years later. And yet? They are largely forgotten by the public at large. This is despite the fact that they were reasonably successful and popular in their time. I don't get it.

Perhaps my favorite Grass Roots song is "Sooner or Later", which you can hear in this homemade video. It's a great little tune, but it struck me as a curio the first time I heard it, and I still think that every time I hear it. Check out at approximately 1:17 in that video, when the tempo changes and these lyrics are heard :

You've been looking for love
In all the wrong places
You've been looking for love
All the wrong faces

Is it just me, or does that sound kind of familiar?

Yes, the Grass Roots song "Sooner or Later" anticipates Johnny Lee's "Looking For Love" (most famous from URBAN COWBOY) by something like 9 years. And while I don't doubt the veracity of the story Johnny Lee tells of the origin of his signature song, I really REALLY wonder if those two schoolteachers from Gulfport, Mississippi who wrote "Looking For Love" had ever heard the Grass Roots.

It's just one of those interesting little things I've noticed over time. And for the record, if I'm looking for some Johnny Lee, I usually prefer "Cherokee Fiddle" myself.


  1. I don't buy it. it's OK that they use the same lyrics (more or less) as that happens all the time, but they had to have heard this song. it was a huge hit.

    on another note, The Grass Roots should stop singing about my life in advance altogether. LOL

  2. Well, no one has actively denied it, but there has never been any acknowledgment of the similarity either. At least as far as I know. I can believe that at least some of the people involved didn't know of the earlier song, but surely there must have been at least one person. It's not just the lyrics, but to me, the music sounds similar, too.