I spent most of Friday being hungover, and most of yesterday relaxing on the beach, so it is only today that I am hearing the news of Arthur Lee’s death from Leukemia. I’ve thought for a long time that Love never got enough play, and the fact that I’ve only read about Lee’s death in a few places seems to confirm that. There’s a lot of speculation that they never got the attention they deserved since Arthur Lee was Black, and, like a lot of speculations, I’m sure that has a certain degree of truth to it.
The news of his death makes me especially sad, because I spent the better part of this spring and early summer listening to Forever Changes. After listening to “Alone Again Or” a good 20 times in one week, I finally went out and bought Forever Changes, and just couldn’t stop listening to it. The 2001 re-release has a booklet full of information about the band and the making of the album. I hardly ever read those things, but the one for Forever Changes was fascinating.
Love: “Alone Again Or” (download)
Love: “Andmoreagain” (download)
Love: “The Red Telephone” (download)
Love: “My Little Red Book” (download)
The first three tracks are all from Forever Changes: “Alone Again Or” is probably Love’s most well-known track, and for good reasons — it’s catchy as all hell. The kind of catchy where, the minute it ends, you go to play it again. At the same time, it’s also so incredibly different sounding (in a good way). As much as I love them, a lot of California psychedelic bands end up sounding incredibly similar if you listen to them a lot, but this sounds unlike anything else out of that movement that I can think of. “Andmoreagain” is pure beauty — a light and breezy love song with string arrangements that seem to hang in mid-air. “The Red Telephone” is another of my favorite tracks from the album. The tempo and Lee’s singing to it push you along in a manner that I can’t quite explain. This track has more of a dramatic quality than the rest of the album, but it really works here.
The list of bands whose catalogs I want to delve further into is longer and more embarassing than I’ll ever admit, so unfortunately, “My Little Red Book” is the extent of my knowledge of Love beyond Forever Changes, and it’s actually composed by Burt Bacharach and Hal David (thank you Laura and allmusic.com). Seattle’s the Murder City Devils did a really interesting cover of it, too (which is actually how I discovered Love, because I think MCD credited it to Love), which I used to have a copy of, but I can’t find it anywhere. If anyone has it, please send it to me!
Forever Changes is quite a stunner of an album, and perfect listening for summer, so do Arthur Lee’s memory (and yourself) a favor, and pick up a copy if you don’t have one already.