RIP Marty Grebb


    January 2, 2020 was a sad day in the musical world – marked by the untimely passing of Marty Grebb.   by Sharon Budman

    From the video channel of arcadatheater

    Marty Grebb was born into a musical family in Chicago on September 2, 1945. His dad Harry was an accomplished saxophonist, who played in the big-band era. Marty began learning music at the age of 8. His brother was a masterful guitarist who has written music instruction books etc. At the age of 12, he joined his first band, and played with some older musician until the age of fifteen when he formed a new band, “The Exceptions,” with Peter Cetera, his high school buddy. By age sixteen, Marty met Calvin Carter at Vee Jay records, who signed him to a record deal which then opened the door to him meeting other popular musicians. During this time, he appeared on many popular TV shows including the Ed Sullivan Show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The Tonight Show, The Jerry Lewis Show, and The Merv Griffin Show just to name a few.

    In 1966, the Buckinghams, a local Chicago band that actually was a fan of “The Exceptions,” lost its keyboard player and asked Marty to join. The Buckinghams went on to achieve six, top-ten, national selling hits together with Marty for Columbia Records and three top-twenty albums. He shared lead vocals with Dennis Tufano on “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.”

    In 1969, Marty moved to Los Angeles and was asked to join the band, Lovecraft, which was being managed by Bill Graham. From that band, he moved on to The Fabulous Rhinestones, and returned back east to continue his musical journey. He co-produced their first album. The Fabulous Rhinestones became the opening act for many groups such as Sly and the Family Stone, The Eagles, and the Doobie Brothers. Marty even got to play with John Lennon at a Peace Festival held in New York City. During this time out east, he also had some recording sessions with Paul Butterfield, David Sanborn, Tito Puente, Jack DeJohnette, and Joe Walsh while up in Woodstock, NY.

    All of this took place around 1972 when he met Bonnie Raitt, who was recording her second album, “Give it Up,” and had asked Marty to play on the album. Marty played on many of Bonnie’s albums, including the classic, Nick of Time, Longing in Their Hearts, Road Tested, and the last one, Fundamental.

    He moved back to Los Angeles in 1974 and began playing with Leon Russell, Bonnie Raitt, Etta James, Greg Allman, and Bonnie Bramlett, and he also did some recording with members of the group Chicago. He played with so many – what a career he had. Over many years in the industry, he played with the best of the best, including John Lennon, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Stevie Nicks, Tanya Tucker, and others including most recently, The Weight Band. Below is a posted, more comprehensive listing of his musical life, collaborations, and brilliance.

    Who was Marty Grebb you ask? He was a multi-instrumentalist and highly talented musician who had an amazing career.

    There are many condolences posted across Facebook and the internet.

    Taken from the Facebook Page of “The Weight Band”

    “Our hearts are heavy with the news of our brother, Marty Grebb’s passing. We want to send heartfelt condolences, thoughts, and prayers to his loving family, friends and fellow musicians. Sometimes we don’t understand a person’s journey – but we do need to have compassion. Marty was a great friend, an amazing musician and a tremendous asset to The Weight Band during his tenure with us. He has been -and will continue to be missed. We pray he’s found his peace. With love, sadness and respect: Jim, Brian, Albert, Michael, Matt, Randy, Byron, Mark, Tony, and Barbara.”

    Marty Grebb’s death is a loss to the musical community, but it’s an even bigger loss for his family and friends. As we start this new year, it is important to remember that everyone has a struggle, we just may not know what it is. What we do know is that feelings are real. In this case, he was suffering from the pain of a terminal illness and the pain of a broken heart.

    Heartfelt condolences to his family, children, grandchildren, extended family, and friends. (Funeral information has not yet been announced at the time of publishing) May his memory be a blessing, and may he rest in eternal peace. “What the world needs now is love, sweet love; It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of. What the world needs now is love, sweet love, No not just for some but for everyone.” (Burt F Bacharach / Hal David)Q

    Live performances and recordings by Marty Grebb:

    Bonnie Raitt 25 years (both) many albums
    Leon Russell 10 years, (both) on and off forever
    B.B King recordings
    Rosanne Cash (both)
    Otis Rush (both)
    Chicago member
    Junior Wells live
    Elton John (both)
    Etta James (2 time periods)
    Musical director (2nd time), keys, sax
    Steven Stills with Etta James live TV show
    Billy Preston live and recording
    Muddy Waters live
    and his son Big Bill Morganfield live
    Aaron Neville recording
    Ivan Neville both
    J J Cale live, recording
    Charles Brown live
    Eric Clapton live, records, composer
    Maria Muldaur live, composer, records
    The Dells many live performances
    Paul Butterfield (both)
    Michael Bloomfield (both)
    The Memphis Horns (on Baritone sax)
    Les Paul live
    Jeff Beck live
    Sippie Wallace live
    Larrie Londin both
    Martha Reeves live
    Gregg Allman live
    Duane Allman live
    David Sanborn live, recordings
    Claudia Lennear live
    John Lee Hooker live
    Stevie Ray Vaughn live
    Glenn Campbell live
    Roy Clark live
    Johnny Gimble live
    Vince Gill both
    Joe Walsh both
    Richard Pryor live for TV the Richard Pryor Show
    Robin Williams live performance
    George Carlin (a sketch in which I played sax in a scene)
    George Carlin "Playin with your Head"
    The Ed Sullivan Show live
    The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour live
    The Tonight Show live
    The Jerry Lewis Show
    Saturday Night Live (5 appearances varying artists)
    Pure Prairie League live
    Marshall Tucker live
    Taj Mahal live, co-writer, recording, arranging
    Joel Sonier recording
    Bobby Charles co writers
    Terry Danko live, recordings, additional brother
    Aaron Neville producer, writer, recording
    Zigaboo Modeliste live, and recording
    Dr. John live and recording , liner notes
    Peach both, writer, producer
    Olivia Newton John recordings, co-arranger
    Travis Tritt recording
    Little Richard recording
    Tanya Tucker recording
    Natalie Cole live
    Jennifer Warnes recording
    Steven Seagal both
    Richard Manuel live, recording, co-writing
    Rick Danko live recording
    Garth Hudson live, recording, co-writing
    Levon Helm live , recording, co-writing
    Merle Haggard live
    Ivan Neville co writers, co producers, recording
    George Benson live
    Stevie Nicks live
    Willie Nelson both
    John Lennon on stage appearance
    The Guthries live
    Tim Hardin live
    Karen Dalton recording
    Bonnie Bramlett live, recording
    Bekka Bramlett live
    Anna Grebb live, recording
    Jim Keltner live, recording
    James Gadson live, recording
    Bob Glaub live Recording
    Leland Sklar both
    Doyle Bramhall live, recording
    Ginger Baker live
    Delbert McClinton live
    Roger McGuinn both
    Little Feat live
    Steve Cropper recording
    Robert Lamm both co-writing
    Loudon Wainwright recording
    Rufus Wainwright recording
    The Right Band Live TV weekly Rock ‘N Roll Tonight
    Normal Adults recording
    ~independent bands I was a member of~
    The Quintones live —early recordings (age 12 to 14)
    The Exceptions both
    The Buckinghams both
    Lovecraft both
    The Fabulous Rhinestones both
    Chicago both and other bands also~~