Let's Live For Today

Album: Let's Live For Today (1967)
Charted: 8

Songfacts®:

  • This song embodies the hippie ethos of seeking love, not money, and simply letting life unfold: "We'll take the most from living, have pleasure while we can." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • Like Laura Branigan's "Gloria," this is a re-worked version of an Italian pop song that became a hit stateside when it was recorded with English lyrics. Even more confusing, the original Italian song was written and recorded by a British band.

    The Rokes were from England, but caught on in Italy, where they moved their operations. They began writing songs with Italian lyrics, including one called "Piangi Con Me," which translates to "Weep With Me." Written by band members David Shapiro and Ivan Mogul, the song was released in 1966 and became a hit in Italy. English lyrics were written by Michael Julien, a songwriter who worked at the group's publisher, and the song became "Let's Live For Today."

    The Rokes released their English version in the UK, which was quickly followed by a cover by The Living Daylights. The Rokes version got the attention of the American label Dunhill Records, which had their act The Grass Roots record it. This became the American hit version of the song - most listeners had no idea it began as an Italian tune.
  • This Grass Roots were formed as a studio act by producers Steve Barri and P.F. Sloan. When their song "Where Were You When I Needed You" (with Sloan's vocal) got some attention, they turned the act into a real band, recruiting a San Francisco group called the Bedouins to become the Grass Roots. This incarnation left after the band's first album, and the producers pulled in another group: a Los Angeles outfit called The 13th Floor, featuring the lead singer Rob Grill.

    This incarnation of the band recorded the Let's Live For Today album. Sloan left before it was released, but seven of the songs on the set (not this one) were ones he co-wrote with Barri. A new version of "Where Were You When I Needed You" was included on this album with Rob Grill singing lead. Grill quickly became one of the leaders in the group as they scored several more hits over the next few years.
  • The original Italian version is about a girl going through a rough time, with the singer offering comfort. The song's hook, however is universal: "Sha, la, la, la, la..." leading into the title. This is sung with a huge group chorus - a songwriting technique that would remain timeless. With these powerful dynamics, the song could have been in Swahili and still hit.
  • The "Sha-la-la" chorus is very similar to The Drifters' hit "I Count the Tears," which Doc Pomus (born Jerome Solon Felder) and Mort Shuman wrote. Pomus was upset about the obvious similarity, and even though lawyers called him to suggest that he should sue, he did not.

    Geoffrey J. Felder, son of Doc Pomus, told us why his dad never took legal action: "The main reason was because he was not that kind of person. If you were a thief and stole from him, as long as he could still support himself and his family (and no one was physically injured of course) he would let it go. He felt that you'd get what you deserved in the end. The other reason was that at the time the song was released he was under contract with Hill & Range (later to become Warner/Chappell) and they would have had the authority to sue and not him."
  • Creed Bratton, who played the character named Creed on the American version of the TV series The Office, played guitar on this song and sang backup. He was a member of The Grass Roots during their classic period of 1967-1969.

    Band member Warren Entner also played guitar and sang backup, and Rob Grill did the lead vocals. Two studio musicians contributed to the track: Hal Blaine played drums and Bobby Ray played bass. The album, which was issued a few months after the song was released as a single, was one of the first to credit the session musicians who performed on it. These studio pros - many of whom played on tracks by The Monkees, Sonny & Cher, The Righteous Brothers and many others - were typically uncredited so as not to take attention away from the artist.
  • This song marked a strange turn of events for group founder P.F. Sloan, who left before it was released. Sloan also released solo albums through Dunhill Records, but they never got much attention. The label was far more interested in his songwriting, and wanted to keep him behind the scenes. In order to step out on his own, he had to leave Dunhill and the Grass Roots behind. "The label didn't want me to be out on the road," Sloan said in our 2014 interview.

    Sloan released a solo album in 1968 on the Atco label, but left the industry a few years later, leaving behind a string of hits that included "Secret Agent Man" and "Eve Of Destruction." The enigmatic songwriter appeared just sporadically over the next 50 years, but is hailed as a groundbreaking composer/producer of his generation.

Comments: 12

  • Izzy R from Trenton, NjEntranced by melody of song and deep quality of singer's voice. The song moved from left to right headset this had a singular effect and chorus full and strong. What really had me was the middle song when the lover calls for the woman. It feels so close, and steamy and personal. The sexiness of it was undeniable, feels like definition of summer of love and what that meant for young people in love at that time
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 11th 1967, the Grass Roots" performed at 'The Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Music Festival' in Marin County, California...
    At the time the group's "Let's Live for Today" was in its second of two weeks at #15 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; two weeks later on June 25th, 1967 it would peak at #8...
    {See next post below}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 10th 1967, the Grass Roots performed "Let's Live For Today" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    One month earlier on May 7th, 1967 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #87; and on June 25th it peaked at #8 (for 2 weeks) and spent 12 weeks on the Top 100...
    Between 1966 and 1975 the group had twenty-one Top 100 records; with three making the Top 10, the other two were "Midnight Confessions" (#5 in 1968) and "Sooner or Later" (#9 in 1971)...
    R.I.P. Rob Grill, lead singer & bassist, 1943 - 2011.
  • Alon from Forest Hills, NyI had just come back from a summer in Italy with my parents and had fallen in love with original by The Rokes. I bought the single and about a year later, a college friend who was in a band asked if i had any good Italian songs for their band to cover. I thought Piangi Con Me would be perfect but my friend disagreed . About a year later, it became The Grassroots first hit...
  • Lisa from Eveleth, Mni love this song....its one of my all time favorites!! in fact i love most songs by the grass roots
  • Vicki from Tucson,arizona, AzI have an interesting theory about this song.
    The intro. sounds like Mimi's death scene from
    Puccini's LA BOHEME-when Rodolpho screams "MIMI!"
    And there is a song from Jonathan Larson's RENT
    called NO DAY BUT TODAY.
    The song sounds like a prophecy of the musical, which came out 29 years later.
    I can see the character Roger Davis singing it to
    his girl Mimi Marquez.
  • Theresa from Murfreesboro, TnIntense, passionate song. He sounds like Elvis a bit.
  • Sara Mackenzie from Middle Of Nowhere, Fllove this song, regardless of the "scandals"
  • Will from New York, NyNo Michael from Bournemouth. The original was written by Pomus and Shuman (Americans)5 years before "Piangi Con Me". Barri & Sloan tapped their friends in NYC for the chorus. Nice guys, huh?
  • Will from New York, NyRegarding "Piangi Con Me", "Let's Live for Today" and "I Count the Tears." "I Count the Tears" was recorded by The Drifters and released in 1960 or '61. "Piangi Con Me" was recorded and released in Italy between 1964 and 1966. So, really, the memorable chorus, which is the hook to all three songs was lifted from "I Count the Tears," written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, who also wrote songs like "Save the Last Dance for Me", "Viva Las Vegas", "This Magic Moment", "Cant' Get Used to Losing You", "Little Sister", "Teenager in Love", and on and on.
  • Brandon from Seattle, WaInfluenced by the Byrds' "Turn Turn Turn." Similarily "It Ain't Me Babe" by the Turtles was influenced by the Byrds' "Mr. Tambourine Man."

    There was some strange connection between "It Ain't Me Babe" and "Let's Live For Today". Except that they were both influenced by an earnest and druggy #1 hit by the Byrds and were also inspired by another hit by another rock group. Both songs ranked the eighth position on the music charts, both songs had the groups sounding like the opposing groups, not to mention that the songs have a music similarity, and both of the songs also had earnest and soothing tones.
  • Michael from Bournemouth, EnglandI was interested to see that Barri and Sloan were sued for lifting the chorus when the original song was written by English writers living in Italy at that time.How much did Barri and Sloan have to cough up ??

    M.Shepstone
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