Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
US soft rock quartet formed '69-70 in Los Angeles. Original lineup: David Gates (b 11 December 1940, Tulsa), vocals, guitar, keyboards, etc; James Griffin (b Memphis), vocals, guitar etc; Robb Royer (vocals, keyboards). Gates began in a Tulsa trio including Leon Russell, then did session work and songwriting; Griffin worked alongside producer Snuff Garrett and was also a songwriter. Gates was producer of an LP by Pleasure Faire for which Griffin had written, and Royer was a member of that group. The trio signed with Elektra '69 and cut an eponymous LP the same year with session drummer Jim Gordon, critically acclaimed but a commercial flop. Drummer Mike Botts (b Sacramento; ex-Wes Montgomery sideman) joined to make a full-time quartet whose LP On The Waters '70 included US no. 1 'Make It With You'; Royer left, replaced by Larry Knechtel. Their album Manna '71 included hit 'If'; next LP Baby I'm-A Want You '72 had a hit with the title track. Guitar Man same year had a hit title track played by Knechtel; after eleven top 40 hits by '73 the group split for solo and session work; they re-formed '77 for Lost Without Your Love (title track top ten). The superbly musical act suffered tension between Gates (who wrote most of the hits) and Griffin, who wanted more of his songs used. Gates had three top 40 solo hits '75-8; Griffin made an LP with Terry Sylvester (ex-Hollies).
James Arthur Griffin (d 11 Jan. 2005 of cancer, in Nashville, aged 61) won an Academy Award '70 for co-writing (as Arthur James) 'For All We Know' for the movie Lovers And Other Strangers. Larry Meredith sang the song on the sountrack; the Carpenters had a no. 3 hit single with it. The other co-writer was Robb Wilson; they also wrote 'Comin' Through To Me' and 'Keepin' Free' for the film, both performed on the soundtrack by the Country Coalition. Griffin also wrote country hits such as Conway Twitty's 'Who's Gonna Know' and Restless Heart's 'You Can Depend On Me'. See also Knechtel's entry.