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.
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.
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.
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.
|Year||Title||Peak chart positions|
|1967|| Da Capo ||80|
|1967|| Forever Changes ||24||154|
|1969|| Four Sail ||102|
|1969|| Out Here ||29||176|
|1970|| False Start ||184|
|1974|| Reel to Real |
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)
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.