[OutVoice] Influential rock artist ARTHUR LEE dies in Memphis

THEMUSENYC at aol.com THEMUSENYC at aol.com
Fri Aug 4 16:27:14 EDT 2006

The music world has lost one of it's greatest - Influential rock artist 
ARTHUR LEE has died in Memphis.
For those too young to know of Arthur Lee and/or his band LOVE - read below.

His magnum opus album - LOVE FOREVER CHANGES - had such a profound effect on 
me in my youth - it somehow spoke to the gay soul in me in ways I couldn't 
even understand at the time.   Haunting, beautiful, symphonic, psychedelic, heavy 
- the album has it all. I urge anyone interested in the best of the very best 
of rock music to check it out. - sigh - Robert Urban

Arthur Lee (Love) is a man larger than life. A flamboyant artist with a trail 
of myth and mythology that follows him like a purple feathered boa. His band 
Love was the first rock band signed to Electra, and Arthur is responsible for 
talking Jac Holtzman into signing the Doors. Before all this, in 1964, Arthur 
gave his friend, an unknown Jimi Hendrix, his first appearance on record (the 
Arthur penned My Diary, by Rosa Lee Brooks). Love's third recording, "Forever 
Changes", is still widely considered to be one of the great rock n roll discs 
of all time. Love were true artists, but not "careerist". They preferred 
living together in "the castle" near Griffith Park, to life on the road. Arthur 
even turned down invitations to perform at the Monterrey Pop Festival and 

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Arthur Lee, the eccentric singer/guitarist with 
influential 1960s rock band Love, has died in a Memphis hospital after a battle 
with leukemia, his manager said on Friday. He was 61.

"His death comes as a shock to me because Arthur had the uncanny ability to 
bounce back from everything, and leukemia was no exception," Mark Linn said in 
an email to Reuters. "He was confident that he would be back on stage by the 

Lee died on Thursday at about 5 p.m. EDT at Methodist University Hospital 
with his wife Diane at his side, Linn added.

Lee, a Memphis native who referred to himself as "the first so-called black 
hippie," formed Love in Los Angeles in 1965, emerging from the same scene as 
groups like the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, the Doors and the Mamas and Papas.

The first multiracial rock band of the psychedelic era, Love recorded three 
groundbreaking albums fusing traditional folk rock and blues with symphonic 
suites and early punk.

Bands as diverse as Led Zeppelin, Echo and the Bunnymen, and Siouxsie and the 
Banshees cited Love as an influence.

The band's self-titled debut yielded the hit single "My Little Red Book," 
written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach. The 1967 follow-up, "Da Capo," was one 
of the first rock albums to feature a song, "Revelation," that took up an 
entire side.

A third release, 1968's "Forever Changes," which boasted adventurous horn and 
string arrangements, is considered Love's bold response to the Beatles' "Sgt. 
Pepper's" album. Rolling Stone magazine ranked it at No. 40 on its list of 
the 500 greatest albums of all time.

But Love, which rarely left Los Angeles, lost momentum as Lee hired new 
musicians and pursued a solo career. Various reunions amounted to little, and Lee's 
eccentricities landed him in a California prison for six years during the 
1990s for firing a pistol into the air.

After his release in late 2001, Lee assembled a new version of Love and 
toured Europe and North America, often playing "Forever Changes" in its entirety.

Lee was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia this year. In May, facing 
certain death after three rounds of chemotherapy failed, he became the first adult 
in Tennessee to undergo a bone marrow transplant using stem cells from an 
umbilical cord, according to The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal. Doctors said the 
procedure lifted his chances of survival only moderately, the newspaper said.

Several benefit concerts were held in Britain and the United States to help 
Lee with his medical bills. Former Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant headlined a 
benefit in New York in June.

More information about the OutVoice mailing list