Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1 (1968-69)

- Bob Berberich -- drums, percussion, vocals 

- George Daly -- bass, vocals

- Nils Lofgren -- vocals, guitar, keyboards


  line up 2 (1969-72)

- Bob Berberich -- drums, percussion, vocals 

NEW - Bob Gordon (RIP  1996) -- bass, backing vocals  (replaced 

  George Daly)

- Nils Lofgren -- vocals, guitar, keyboards


  line up 2 (1972-74)

- Bob Berberich -- drums, percussion, vocals 

- Bob Gordon (RIP 1996) -- bass, backing vocals 

- Nils Lofgren -- vocals, guitar, keyboards

NEW - Tommy Lofgren -- rhythm guitar, vocals


  supporting musicians (1973)

- Merry Clayton -- backing vocals

- Bobbye Hall -- percussion

- Clydie M. King -- backing vocals

- Sherlie Matthews -- backing vocals





- Crazy Horse (Nils Lofgren)

- The Dolphin (Bob Berberich and George Daly)

- Paul Dowell & the Dolphin (Bob Berberich and George Daly)

- The Hangmen (Bob Berberich and George Daly)

- Nils Lofgren (solo efforts)

- The Newkeys

- Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band (Nils Lofrgen)





Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Gone Crazy

Company: A&M

Catalog: SP  4415

Year: 1973

Country/State: Maryland

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 900

Price: $20.00


After three albums for the Columbia-affiliated Spindizzy imprint,  1973's "Gone Crazy" found Grin (now expanded to a quartet with the addition of rhythm guitarist Tom Lofgren),  signed to A&M - a label that knew a thing or two about breaking up-and-coming acts on a national basis.   Ya' would have thought a talented outfit like Grin would have been a fairly simple marketing effort for the label.   Didn't happen.  Shame since I'd argue this was the best of the four Grin studio sets.  


Producer David Briggs, perhaps unintentionally "Gone Crazy" came off as a career summation.  Musically the set was all over the place; almost as if Lofrgen and company were trying to show they could handle it all  - big ballads ('Believe'), top-40 pop ('True Thrill'), hard rock ('Beggars Day (Eulogy for Danny Whitten)'').   Normally such a diverse line-up wouldn't have made a major impression, but there was something beguiling in this album.  Even on the hard rock numbers ('You're the Weight' and 'What About Me'), you got the feeling these guys were having a good time.   Is there such a thing as a fun album ?  Well, if there is, this should be in the running. The other thing this album had going for it - Lofgren's guitar moves.   He was great (and how many lead guitarist can do acrobatic flips? ), but unlike most of his contemporaries, Lofgren didn't subscribe to the fill-every-blank-space with a solo approach to recording.   By the way, as much as I liked Lofgren's voice, drummer  Bob Berberich was even better.  


"Gone Crazy" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) You're the Weight - 5:11

One of the band's best songs, 'You're the Weight' managed to highlight so many of their strengths - Lofgren's nifty voice; Lofgren's killer lead guitar; a slinky rock melody that was hard to shake, and some surprisingly nice harmony vocals from the rest of the band.   The song was tapped as a single.   YouTube has a clip of the band performing the song live on The Midnight Special with Lofgren even doing one of his patented flips (around the 5:30 mark).  rating: **** stars

2.) Boy & Girl   (Nils Lofgren) - 4:31

Nice mid-tempo tune that showcased Lofgren's talents on piano and some of the nicest harmony vocals this side of CSN&Y.   rating: **** stars

3,) What About Me   (Nils Lofgren) - 4:27

If you have a hankering for a good guitar song, then I'd suggest giving 'What About Me' a quick spin.   Four and a half minutes of sweet fuzz guitar slapped on top of one of Lofgren's most engaging songs.  Geez, this is the one I would have tapped as an FM single.   rating: **** stars

4.) One More Time   (Nils Lofgren) - 5:10

The album's first disappointment, 'One More Time' was a bland and forgettable slice of blues-rock.   Backing singers Merry Clayton, Clydie M. King, and  Sherlie Matthews threatened to chase Lofgren off the stage this time out.  Best part of the song was Lofgren's brief slide guitar solo.   rating: ** stars


(side 2)
True Thrill    (Nils Lofgren)- 3:08

With a bouncy melody, wonderful hook, and easy going vocal, 'True Thrill' found the band showing they could come up with a commercial, pop-oriented tune.  Lofrgen turned in another notable solo on the song.   rating: **** stars 

2.) Beggar's Day (Eulogy To Danny Whitten)   (Nils Lofgren) - 4:18

Dedicated to the late Crazy Horse guitarist Danny Whitten, 'Beggar's Day' was originally recorded for Crazy Horse's self titled 1971 album.  While Grin's version lacked some of the original's furious rock base, I'll go against the flow and tell you I like this version better.   The Grin version stripped away some of the originals fury, turning it into a wonderfully slinky rocker showcasing some nice Bobbye Hall percussion and Lofgren's killer lead guitar moves.   YouTube has another clip of the band playing the song on NBC's Midnight Special:     rating: ***** stars

3.) Nightmare   (Nils Lofgren) - 3:42

Another highly commercial tune, I'm guessing drummer Bob Berberich handled the lead vocal on 'Nightmare'.   Kicked along by Nils' barrelhouse piano, with a better vocal it probably could have been a hit single.   rating: *** stars

4,) Believe   (Nils Lofgren) - 3:55

Quite atypical for their sound, the ballad 'Believe; wasn't bad - Lofgren on piano and vocals.  Not sure if it was intended as the group's commercial breakthrough, but to my ears it sounded kind of prissy.   rating: ** stars

5.) Ain't For Free   (Nils Lofgren) - 4:17

A bluesy number, 'Ain't For Free' featured Berberich on lead vocals while Lofgren handled keyboards and blistering slide guitar.   The performance was quite good, but the song sounded derivative.  rating: *** stars


The album saw one single spun off:

- 1974's 'You're the Weight' b/w 'Beggar's Day (Eulogy To Danny Whitten)' (A&M catalog number SP-1502)


And that was it for Grin.


With mixed results Lofgren pursued a solo career.  He went on to attracted way more attention as a member of Bruce Springsteen's E. Street Band.


Original bassist Daly went into the business side of the house.


Bassist Gordon has passed.


Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Grin 1 + 1

Company: Spindizzy

Catalog: BL 31038

Year: 1972

Country/State: Maryland

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve

Available: 2

Catalog ID: 4775

Price: $10.00



Released in 1972, Grin's second album "1 + 1" was generally viewed as the group's best and most consistent release.  I'm going to go out on a limb and disagree.  With Neil Young and Crazy Horse producer David Briggs at the helm, you would have expected to get a fairly raw collection of guitar powered hard rock.  Well, if that was your expectation you were in for a mild disappointment.  Lofgrin was responsible for penning all ten tracks and in the process turned in what may have been the year's most schizophrenic album.  Basically divided into rock and pop sides, the rock oriented side one was the one that counted.  The collection started out with a killer slice of power pop 'White Lies' (the band's closest shot at a commercial hit) and continued apace with a couple of nice rockers including 'Please Don't Hide', 'Slippery Fingers' and 'End Unkind' (the latter two tracks featuring Bob Berberich and Bob Gordon on lead vocals).   Unfortunately side two was a relative mess with Lofgrin and company having apparently decided they needed to become a top-40 pop band.  In isolation most of the ballad heavy side two tracks were okay ('Lost a Number' and 'Just a Poem'), but taken in a single setting it started to become cloying.  


"Grin 1 + 1" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) White Lies   (Nils Lofgrin) - 3:27

Possibly the band's most overtly commercial song, 'White Lies' was a near perfect single complete with a breezy melody that served to showcase Lofgrin's likeable voice and knack for catchy melodies.  Understandably Spindizzy tapped it as a single.  rating: **** stars

2.) Please Don't Hide   (Nils Lofgrin) - 4:00

'Please Don't Hide' found Lofgrin and company toughening up their sound with a nice balance of rocker and pop moves.   Nice performance  from drummer Bob Berberich.   rating: **** stars

3.) Slippery Fingers   (Nils Lofgrin) - 4:10

Featuring drummer Berberich on lead vocals, 'Slippery Fingers' found the band showcasing their sliinky bar band moves.  Okay, Berberick may not have had the best voice, but Lofgrin's lead guitar more than made up for it.   rating: **** stars

4.) Moon Tears   (Nils Lofgrin) - 2:19

Complete with explosive telecaster solo, the blazing 'Moon Tears' would be my pick for the album's standout performance.  rating: **** stars

5.) End Unkind   (Nils Lofgrin) - 4:03

With the late Bob Gordon on lead vocals, 'End Unkind' wasn't bad, sounding like a mash-up of country hoedown and hard rock moves.   Interesting, if not a particularly good choice for the album's second single.    rating: *** stars


(side 2)
1.) Sometimes   (Nils Lofgrin) - 2:39

The melody was certainly pretty, showcasing Lofgrin's nice work on acoustic guitar.  At the same time, 'Sometimes' spotlighted the band at their most commercial pop orientation ...   Ultimately a bit too sappy for their own good.   rating: *** stars

2.) Lost a Number   (Nils Lofgrin) - 3:09

Ever sappier than the previous number, complete with some Association-styled harmony vocals.   Well, Gordon's bass work on this one was nice.   rating: ** stars

3.) Hi, Hello Home   (Nils Lofgrin) - 2:30

Pretty country-tinged ballad with some nice tack piano and Graham Nash supposedly on backing vocals - though I've always been hard pressed to detect him in the mix.   rating: *** stars

4.) Just a Poem   (Nils Lofgrin) - 2:41

Pretty enough ballad that would have been better without the heavy orchestration.   rating: ** stars

5.) Soft Fun   (Nils Lofgrin) - 5:41

It's a personal thing, but I've always detested songs that include snippets of children singing so 'Soft Fun' never had a chance in my book.  Add in more heavy orchestration and Lofgrin trying to show he could make a serious statement and the results were merely irritating.   rating: ** stars


Spindizzy pulled a pair of singles from the album:


1971's 'White Lies' b/w 'Just To Have You' (Spindizzy catalog number ZS7-4005)   # 75 pop

1972's 'End Unkind" b/w "Slippery Fingers" (Spindizzy catalog number ZS7-4006