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Love (band)

Love was an American rock group of the late 1960s and early 1970s. They were led by singer, songwriter and guitarist Arthur Lee and the group's second songwriter, guitarist Bryan MacLean. One of the first racially diverse American pop bands, their music reflected different influences, combining elements of rock and roll, garage rock, folk and psychedelia.

History

1963-1966

Lee, who had lived in Los Angeles since the age of five, had been recording since 1963 with his bands, the LAG's and Lee's American Four. He'd also produced a single, "My Diary", for Rosa Lee Brooks in 1964 which included Jimi Hendrix on guitar. A garage outfit, The Sons Of Adam, which included future Love drummer Michael Stuart, also recorded a Lee composition, "Feathered Fish". However, after viewing a Byrds performance, Lee determined to join the newly minted folk-rock sound of the Byrds to his primarily R'n'B style. Soon after, he formed The Grass Roots with guitarist John Echols (another Memphis native), bassist Johnny Fleckenstein and drummer Don Conka. Byrds roadie Bryan MacLean joined the band just before they changed their name to Love, spurred by the release of a single by another group called The Grass Roots.

Love started playing the L.A. clubs in April, 1965 and became a popular act. At this time, they were playing extended numbers such as "Revelation" (originally titled "John Lee Hooker") and getting the attention of such luminaries as the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds. The band lived communally in a house once owned by horror actor Bela Lugosi, and their first two albums included photos shot in the garden of that house.

1966-1968

Signed to the Elektra Records label, the band scored a minor hit single in 1966 with their version of Burt Bacharach's "My Little Red Book". In the meantime, Lee had dismissed Conka and Fleckenstein, replacing them with Alban "Snoopy" Pfisterer and Ken Forssi (from a post-"Wipeout" version of The Surfaris). Their debut album, Love, was released in May 1966, and included "Signed D.C" and MacLean's "Softly To Me". The album sold moderately well and reached #57 on the album charts.

In August, 1966, the single "7 and 7 Is" became their highest-charting at #33. Two more members were added around this time, Tjay Cantrelli (aka John Barberis) on woodwinds and Michael Stuart on drums. Pfisterer, never a confident drummer, switched to harpsichord.

Their musical reputation largely rests on two albums issued in 1967, Da Capo and Forever Changes. Da Capo, released in January of that year, included rockers like "Stephanie Knows Who" and "7 and 7 Is," and melodic songs such as "¡Qué Vida!" and "She Comes in Colors". Gone were the Byrds influences and jangly guitars, replaced by melodically airy art-songs with predominantly jazz and classical influences. Some critics derided it as a one-side album, with the six songs on Side One contrasting markedly with the lack of focus displayed on the other side, which was devoted entirely to the rambling, unfocused, 19-minute "Revelation". Cantrelli and Pfisterer soon quit the band, leaving it as a five-piece once again.

Forever Changes, released in November 1967, is a suite of songs using acoustic guitars, strings and horns that was recorded while the band was falling apart as the result of various abuses. Producer Bruce Botnick originally planned to record the entire album with session musicians backing Lee and MacLean but after two tracks had been recorded in this way the rest of the band were stung into producing the discipline required to complete the rest of the album in only 64 hours. Writer Richard Meltzer, in his The Aesthetics of Rock, comments on Love's "orchestral moves", "post-doper word contraction cuteness" and Lee's vocal style that serves as a "reaffirmation of Johnny Mathis". Forever Changes included one modest hit single, the MacLean-written "Alone Again Or", while "You Set the Scene" went on to receive airplay from some progressive rock radio stations. By this stage, Love were far more popular in the UK, where the album reached #24, than in their home country, where it could only reach #154. Love, did, however, have a strong following in the U.S. at the time among cognoscenti of the cutting edge.

1968-2006

MacLean, suffering from heroin addiction, soon left the band, as did all the other members except Lee. Echols and Forssi also fell prey to the ravages of heroin addiction and disappeared from the scene. Arthur Lee and a reconstituted Love continued to record fitfully until the late 1970s before finally disbanding. The new version of Love, which included Jay Donnellan and Gary Rowles on guitars, Frank Fayad on bass, and George Suranovich on drums as well as Lee, played in a style very different from the band's previous line-up.

After spending six years in prison in the 1990s for firearms offences, Arthur Lee began to play Love's classic songs in concert by reuniting with the members of Baby Lemonade. In the early 2000s, co-founder of Love and original guitarist Johnny Echols rejoined his partner, Arthur Lee, in this line-up and performed as "Love with Arthur Lee and Johnny Echols". This reformed group toured for several years, frequently performing Forever Changes in its entirety.

Bryan MacLean died in Los Angeles of a massive heart attack on December 25, 1998, while having dinner with a young fan who was researching a book about the band. He was 52. Arthur Lee died in Memphis, Tenn., on August 3, 2006, of complications from leukemia. He was 61.

Discography

Studio albums

Year Title Peak chart positions
UK US
1966 Love
  • Released: 1966
  • Label:
  • Formats: CD, DL, LP

57
1967 Da Capo
  • Released: 1967
  • Label:
  • Formats: CD, DL, LP

80
1967 Forever Changes
  • Released: 1967
  • Label:
  • Formats: CD, DL, CS, LP

24 154
1969 Four Sail
  • Released: 1969
  • Label:
  • Formats: CD, DL, LP

102
1969 Out Here
  • Released: 1969
  • Label:
  • Formats: CD, LP

29 176
1970 False Start
  • Released: 1970
  • Label:
  • Formats: CD, LP

184
1974 Reel to Real
  • Released: 1974
  • Label:
  • Formats: LP

Live albums

  • 1980: Love Live - live, 1978 concert

1. Alone Again Or 2. House Is Not A Motel 3. Andmoreagain 4. Daily Planet 5. Old Man 6. Red Telephone 7. Maybe The People Would Be The Times (or between Clark and Hilldale) 8. Live And Let Live 9. Good Humor Man He Sees Everything Like This 10. Bummer In The Summer 11. You Set The Scene

1. Alone Again Or 2. House Is Not A Motel 3. Andmoreagain 4. Daily Planet 5. Old Man 6. Red Telephone 7. Maybe The People Would Be The Times (or between Clark and Hilldale) 8. Live And Let Live 9. Good Humor Man He Sees Everything Like This 10. Bummer In The Summer 11. You Set The Scene 12. 7 And 7 Is (bonus track) 13. Your Mind And We Belong Together (bonus track) 14. Orange Skies (bonus track) 15. She Comes In Colors (bonus track) 16. Listen To My Song (bonus track) 17. August (bonus track)

Compilations

  • 1995: Love Story 1966-1972 - compilation
  • 2003: The Best of Love - compilation
  • 2006: "Love : The definitive Rock Collection" - compilation

Singles

  • March 1966: "My Little Red Book"/A Message To Pretty"
  • July 1966: "7 and 7 Is" b/w "No. Fourteen"
  • December 1966: "She Comes In Colors"/"Orange Skies"
  • March 1967: "Que Vida"/"Hey Joe"
  • December 1967: "Alone Again Or"/"A House Is Not A Motel"
  • June 1968: "Your Mind and We Belong Together" b/w "Laughing Stock"
  • 1994: "Girl on Fire" b/w "Midnight Sun"

Other

  • 1992: Arthur Lee and Love

Influence

Today, the band's critical reputation exceeds the limited success they experienced during their time, their 1967 album Forever Changes being held in particularly high regard. The band's influence extends beyond the realm of 60s psychedelia to such punk and post-punk bands as Television Personalities and The Jesus and Mary Chain. William Reid of the Jesus and Mary Chain wore a Love t-shirt in his band's video for "Head On" from their Automatic album. The Damned covered "Alone Again Or" on the album "Anything."

Love have also influenced many 1960s-inspired Top 40 UK acts, including The Bluetones, Shack, The Stands, Primal Scream and Ricky, whose critically acclaimed mini-album, 'You Set The Scene' was named after the Forever Changes finale.

External links

  • in french

Reviews

Notes

References

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