Friday, August 04, 2006

Arthur Lee R.I.P.

Arthur Lee, leader of the legendary Los Angeles band Love, died of leukemia yesterday afternoon at the age of 61. News of his death was reported on the band's message board.

Love's only Top 40 hit was the 1966 proto-punk screamer, "7 & 7 Is," but their third album, 1967's Forever Changes, was a meticulously-conceived masterpiece that has only grown in stature over the years. Rhino reissued the album in 2001 with outtakes from the "Your Mind and We Belong Together" tracking session. Lee's studio talkbox banter on the track is reminiscent of Brian Wilson's direction during the Pet Sounds sessions.

The classic Love line-up only lasted through Forever Changes. Lee stayed peripherally involved in the L.A. music scene, occasionally reforming Love in some permutation. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison for illegal possession of a firearm in 1996. During his legal troubles, Love members Bryan MacLean and Ken Forssi died, precluding any future reunions.

Upon his 2001 release, Lee took a cue from Brian Wilson and began performing Forever Changes in its entirety with a band called "Love with Arthur Lee." Despite initial rave reviews, Lee left the band in 2005. His illness was revealed earlier this year.

I'll definitely be listening to Forever Changes this weekend along with "Stephanie Knows Who," "She Comes in Colors," "Signed D.C." and several others. Lee was one of the visionary greats.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How sad. Not unexpected, but still sad. His was one of the most distinctive musical visions of the 60s. Now I wish I'd brought some Love with me to work.