Arthur Lee

Arthur Lee - Defined West Coast 60s.

Arthur Lee & Love – In Session – 2004 – Past Daily Soundbooth

Arthur Lee
Arthur Lee – Defined West Coast 60s.

Arthur Lee & Love – in session – BBC Radio 2 – July 1, 2004 – BBC Radio 2 –

Arthur Lee & Love tonight – from a session recorded on July 1, 2004 at BBC Radio 2. Love was one of those bands that clearly defined what West Coast 60s rock was all about – and Arthur Lee was at the helm. They were such a fixture on the Sunset Strip club circuit in the 1965-1966 period that mentioning The Byrds and The Doors as pivotal bands of the period required you to include Arthur Lee in the same breath.

But while they were an integral part of the scene at the time, they didn’t slip into the household name category for several years and their magnum opus, Forever Changes was not as well received at the time. And it was only after some time that the album became one of the key elements in defining the period and Arthur Lee as one of its potent contributors.

In time, Arthur Lee went on to achieve cult status and his later collaborations would prove to be a lasting testament to what was a brilliant and far-reaching writer of some truly memorable songs. There are volumes of stories and observations and a file cabinet full of rumors of how difficult Arthur Lee was to work with and how wretched excess managed to dominate all aspects of his life, even to the point of putting him in prison for a while.

But those were speed bumps and did not define the man, his music nor his vision. He was a truly unique individual and way ahead of his time. Back in 1967 he was considered “difficult” – in 2022 he would be encouraged and lauded and those purported “difficulties” would be viewed as strengths and assets to his creative vision. Times have changed and we’ve changed and oh, how much more different it would be had Arthur Lee been given free reign to fulfill his vision on his terms.

But that was then and this is now and there’s no Arthur Lee anymore – he left us in 2006 – going out on a high note, being rediscovered by a newer group of fans. Many weren’t that lucky – but then, Arthur Lee wasn’t like anyone else.

If you’re not familiar with his work, certainly go back and seek out his earlier material, starting with Forever Changes – here’s a taste in the meantime and a small sample of an extraordinary and truly gifted voice that was a daily part of our lives for a long time.




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