Love – Forever Changes

10 Overall Score
Songwriting: 10/10
Originality: 10/10
Musicianship: 10/10

Everything

Nothing

Love – Forever Changes
Elektra Records
1967

There are records, there is music, and then there are musical works of art that transcend music itself and go to a place where all of the right people converge in the right place and at the right time and something mystical happens. Today I am going to tell you about one of them. This is a geek site, and I am a music geek. I enjoy turning people on to great music that they have never heard before. Some of you may have heard of Love, but most have you probably have not.

Love is a 1960’s Los Angeles band that released several pretty good records but one that knocked it out of the park – heck, out of the universe. The album is called Forever Changes, it was released in late 1967, and the songs were written by front man Arthur Lee and rhythm guitarist Brian MacLean, who also did background vocals and as well as lead vocals on one song and shared lead vocals on another. It is considered by many people who know, the so-called “experts,” to be nothing less than the greatest musical work in human history. In fact the British Parliament took the time in 2002 to officially recognize it as one of the greatest albums of all time. The British Parliament – old politicians from the same country that gave us the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin and countless others. They took the time to recognize the work. That says a lot.

So – if this record is so great why are you (probably) just hearing about it now? It is as good as anything the Beatles ever did. Surely you would have heard of it, right? But you have not. Why? Well, the ever-present drugs of the sixties rock music scene took their toll. But the main reason for this record’s lack of commercial success was because of the band’s refusal to tour to support it. Consequently not a lot of people heard it. Reviews were positive, but the lack of recognition by the public doomed it. It peaked at number 154 on the Billboard charts. It did do better in Great Britain, reaching number 24.

Forever Changes is an album that might take you a listen or two before you really get it. Make no mistake – it is not one of those mediocre records that “grows on you” after a time. It is simply so good and so deep and so complex that your brain needs time to sort it all out. It starts with Alone Again Or, a MacLean song, and probably the most conventional song on the record. It was a wise move to put it first. Everybody who I have ever played it for loved it, and the Spanish horn break is incredible and must be heard. Alone Again Or is followed by ten more songs that I am not going to describe because I want you to form your own conclusions. I will just say that my favorite songs on the record are Andmoreagain, Old Man and The Red Telephone. But every song on this record is a masterpiece. You cannot go wrong with any of them.

Unfortunately the story of Love is fairly tragic. Arthur Lee attempted to keep going through the seventies both with Love and as a solo act but nothing came close to Forever Changes. It was just a special thing that happened when all of the stars lined up in just the right places. Furthermore, drugs caused trouble for him and he spent quite a few years in prison. Fortunately there is a somewhat happy ending to the story, as Arthur Lee formed a new group after leaving prison, it was called Arthur Lee and Love, and they toured the world playing the Forever Changes album until his death in 2006. Videos of the show and songs from the album can be found, well you know where. There is also an excellent documentary called Love Story that will fill you in and give you a good idea of the forces that came together to create this masterful work. I strongly urge you to check Forever Changes out.

 

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Jeff Strichart
Author: Jeff Strichart View all posts by
Jeff Strichart has been a frustrated musician for almost forty years. He is also a producer and has mixed and/or mastered many local Colorado bands. Aside from his music and production he enjoys his dogs, motorcycles, collecting vintage BMX bicycles, reading and his new found love of sound design using hardware synthesizers and has licensed material to the BBC for use in their television programs.

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