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Love

One of the best West Coast folk-rock/psychedelic bands, Love may have also been the first widely acclaimed cult/underground group. During their brief heyday -- lasting all of three albums -- they drew from Byrds-ish folk-rock, Stones-ish hard rock, blues, jazz, flamenco, and even light orchestral pop to create a heady stew of their own. They were also one of the first integrated rock groups, led by genius singer/songwriter Arthur Lee, one of the most idiosyncratic and enigmatic talents of the '60s. Stars in their native Los Angeles and an early inspiration to the Doors, they perversely refused to tour until well past their peak. This ensured their failure to land a hit single or album, though in truth the band's vision may have been too elusive to attract mass success anyway.

Love was formed by Lee in the mid-'60s in Los Angeles. Although only 20 at the time, Lee had already scuffled around the fringes of the rock and soul business for a couple of years. In addition to recording some flop singles with his own bands, he wrote and produced a single for Rosa Lee Brooks that Jimi Hendrix played on as session guitarist. Originally calling his outfit the Grass Roots, Lee changed the name to Love after another Los Angeles group called the Grass Roots began recording for Dunhill. Love's repertoire would be largely penned by Lee, with a few contributions by guitarist Bryan MacLean.

Inspired by British Invasion bands and local peers the Byrds, Love built up a strong following in hip L.A. clubs. Soon they were signed by Elektra, the noted folk label that was just starting to get its feet wet in rock (it had recorded material by early versions of the Byrds and the Lovin' Spoonful, and had just released the first LP by Paul Butterfield). Their self-titled debut album (1966) introduced their marriage of the Byrds and the Stones on a set of mostly original material and contained a small hit, their punk-ish adaptation of Bacharach/David's "My Little Red Book."

Love briefly expanded to a seven-piece for their second album, Da Capo (1967), which included their only Top 40 hit, the corkscrew-tempoed "Seven & Seven Is." The first side was psychedelia at its best, with an eclectic palette encompassing furious jazz structures, gentle Spanish guitar interludes, and beautiful Baroque pop with dream-like images ("She Comes in Colors"). It was also psychedelia at its most reckless, with the whole of side two taken up by a meandering 19-minute jam. It was still a great step forward, but by mid-1967, the band was threatening to disintegrate due to drugs and general disorganization.

The group was in such sad shape, apparently, that Elektra planned to record their third album with sessionmen backing Lee (on his compositions) or MacLean (on his compositions). Work on two tracks actually commenced in this fashion, but the shocked band pulled themselves together to play their own material again, resulting in one of the finest rock albums of all time, Forever Changes. An exceptionally strong set of material graced by captivating lyrics and glistening, unobtrusive horn and string arrangements, it was not a commercial hit in the U.S. (though it did pretty well in Britain) but remains an all-time favorite of many critics.

Just at the point where they seemed poised to assert themselves as a top band, Love's first and best lineup was broken up in early 1968, at Lee's instigation. Several albums followed in the late '60s and early '70s that, though credited to Love, are in reality Lee and backup musicians -- none of whom had skills on the level of Bryan MacLean or the other original Love men. Lee largely forsook folk-rock for hard rock, with unimpressive results, even when he was able to get Jimi Hendrix to play on one track. The problems ran deeper than unsympathetic accompaniment: Lee's songwriting muse had largely deserted him as well, and nothing on the post-Forever Changes albums competes with the early Elektra records.

Lee released a solo album in the early '70s, and then put another Love together for one last effort in 1974, but basically Love/Lee (the two had in effect become synonymous) ground to a halt in the mid-'70s. Lee sporadically recorded and performed in the years following without coming up with anything resembling a unified full-length studio statement, though some scattered live and studio recordings appeared, including a 1994 single on the tiny Distortions label.

In 1995, Rhino Records released the compilation Love Story 1966-1972 around which time the label also bailed Lee out of jail after he was arrested for trying to set his ex-girlfriend's apartment on fire. Lee's troubles continued the following year after he was again arrested after shooting a gun in the air during an argument with a neighbor. He was subsequently convicted for illegal possession of a firearm, and due to a prior drug offense in the '80s, was sentenced to eight to 12 years in prison under California's three strikes law. In 2000, Rhino issued an expanded version of Love's classic Forever Changes and helped reignite interest in Lee. In 2001, a California federal appeals court found the prosecutor at Lee's trial guilty of misconduct and reversed the charges against Lee who was then freed. Buoyed by renewed fan support, Lee toured with a new Love lineup playing Forever Changes in full and even received a Living Legend Award at the 2004 NME Awards. In 2006, Lee was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and underwent three bouts of chemotherapy as well as a bone marrow transplant before his condition worsened. He passed away on August 3, 2006, at Memphis, Tennessee's Methodist University Hospital. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

dedicatedalw a y s
Forever changes my all time favorite Rick lp the best of the sixties in my book .
Never heard of these cats! These guys are the f**king s**t!
How do you looks this
Boo I hate u
The Beatles favorite band from the USA.. Brilliant and still genius today.
Love love. Arthur was the best, god rest his soul. He's with jimmy now.
One of the great bands that never got as much recognition as they were due. The first three albums are all classics.
I thought I was the only one who listened to Love...have them all, vinyl AND CD, and a couple on cassette.
Not from the 60s era, just heard of LOVE recently and they are awesome ♪♪♪♪♪♪♪ ♥ : )
this is from four sail....Robe r t Montgomery this is just one of many fine tracks.. it's on CD.... check it out.... if you dare...
w.Sims.... hey man.... I know four sail... incredible album.... cover to cover.... hats off to Arthur and company... thanks man!!!
i think" four sail" was an awesome record... I still" love" it today it has a lot of great tunes.
claricentp91 7
Interested on making some extra cash? go to BLUDOS.COM You can make $300+ a week easily. Its free so no scam here.
shawnnavuz71 1
Interested on making some extra cash? go to BLUDOS.COM You can make $300+ a week easily. Its free so no scam here.
C'mon you gotta dig this s**t. I put on my Madras shirt and bleed like hell.
Alone Again Or is awesome.
we all been thru changes..... m a y b e he did too.
may arthur lee rest with the one tru God....Jesus Christ
Forever Changes and Sgt Pepper share a special place in my heart as the greatest concept albums of the '60's.
Love their version of Hey Joe! My dad turned me on to this band when I was in High School, I'm 39 and love old obscure rock! Anyone listen to the FUGS!!!! Another band he turned me on to. :)
bad a** band love this
Why can't I seed them?
Rick Bolz played with Love before....in t e r e s t i n g .
without a doubt included in my top 10 of the last four decades period! wolfbbro
kvons1
Under rated and less well known than they should have been----grea t group of the times. RIP: Arthur Lee
keep trying. so worth it.... try Arthur Lee
Call me stupid but whenever i try to add Love to a station LoveLance gets added instead. LoveLance? Somebody please help.
saw love and the leaves at san jose civic about 1965,lee was quite a performer good show
for a 15 yr old kid...
Its a crime that Love never received the recognition they deserve. 'Alone Again Or' and 'You Set the Scene' are quite simply rock masterpieces .
my older brother carmen brought home the vinyl one fine day. never heard it before that its great joy to get turned onto new great music. my reason to be alive
tllattimer
After seeing most of the icons of the historically - c l a s s i c '60s live, (Joplin, Hendrix, Doors, Stones, Floyd, Who, Zappa, ++) somehow I never caught a LOVE concert until Lee played with Baby Lemonade (as LOVE) at the west cost knitting factory in Hollywood - a small club packed with the die-hard few that got to see this show - AMAZING! I can now die a happy man.
I've loved Love since I was a kid and raided my dad's record collection. Their first album --My Little Red Book and Hey Joe are standouts-- brings so many memories... I know because I recorded it onto a cassette and took it with me to college! Guess I could update the technology and just burn a CD now... I had bought tickets for his concert in the summer of 06-- sadly, he died a few weeks before.
johnnyohania n
Hey Mr. Brurox8: Thanks for the edification on why Love did not tour. But please elaborate. Why was Lee paranoid? Just drug use or something else?
They were the headliner at a concert at the Shrine in LA. Opening for them were Chicago Transit Authority and Procol Harum. One of my first concerts.
They DID tour, mainly in the Southern California area. Lee was very paranoid and often wouldn't appear for bookings. The reputation for being a "no-show" finally had booking agents refusing to book the group anymore. Between the paranoia and drugs, Lee sunk Love.
johnnyohania n
Wonder why they did not tour? Could it be due to segregation and the racism of the 60's? They were a multi-race group. Maybe they were afraid to stray too far from home.
What about the FOURTH album -- FOUR SAIL?
sheetout
Not mentioned in the bio is that Arthur Lee died 8/3/06 of complication s from leukemia.
All you need is LOVE
circus master1 drinks his own kool-aid
I got into Love via covers by Groovie Ghoulies cover of "Message to Pretty" and the Ramones cover of "7 and 7 is". Also, I read that Johnny Ramones' influential rhythm guitar style (he only played rhythm) was inspired by Love. Rasmystery: Interesting analogy to the Velvets, I think I get what you're saying.


LOVE IT!!!!!
@rasmystery - What are you talking about? I can make out about half of what you're saying. Proofread before you post.
I'm glad to see fans of the obscure music of the early 60's. Mostly baned from radio air play this music was condemed to blood the stained mattresses of dingy basements. Arthur Lee and Love was to LSD what Reed and the Velvet Underground was to Herion. People in the sixtys drug cultures, oriented themselves by drug preference. The music they left behind tells the story of the clashing cultures. Rebeling not only the establishmen t but each other.
seen love at wiske a go back the days and and jimi hendrick could not what thay day
okay, this is rad.
nice
love auther lee some of the best 60s ive ever heard
This band is amazing, I'm so glad I discovered them.
MAN YOU HAVE TO HEAR THIS. 60S FOREVER. CHECK OUT NICK DRAKE
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