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Forever Changes: The Authorized Biography Of Arthur Lee and Love

    "Forever Changes: The Authorized Biography Of Arthur Lee And Love" by John Einarson is a top rock read. Look out for the updated edition with Johnny Echols' new foreword.

    Widely hailed as a genius, Arthur Lee was a character every bit as colorful and unique as his music. 

    Forever Changes: The Authorized Biography Of Arthur Lee and Love” by John Einarson is one of my favorite rock books. An updated edition is coming out, featuring a new foreword by Johnny Echols. The story of Love is timeless and enduring. If you’re a fan of The Doors, this is a must-read, as it offers a deeper understanding of the band’s influences and the pivotal role Love played in shaping the rock music landscape.

    John Einarson’s “Forever Changes: Arthur Lee and the Book of Love” delves deep into Arthur Lee’s tumultuous life, exploring his complex relationship with his group Love and his journey towards self-discovery. Arthur Lee was never one to follow trends; instead, he carved his path, sometimes controversial, but always authentic. His legacy is undeniable, leaving behind a body of work coveted by many musicians, though fully appreciated only after his passing.

    Arthur Lee plays a significant yet often underappreciated role in music history. He was a favorite of Elektra Records, a label known for its folk-driven roster that was eager to sign a rock band. Lee’s influence was pivotal for Elektra’s success, marking the beginning of a series of events that led to the label’s prominence. Without Arthur Lee, there would be no Jim Morrison and The Doors; he literally “opened the doors” for the band, who would later enjoy the fruits of his initial efforts.

    Lee’s impact didn’t stop there. His presence and contributions arguably set the stage for future iconic bands like Queen and Metallica to eventually sign with the label. Lee was an exceptional musician, but he fell into the pitfalls common in the latter half of the 1960s. His determination to stay grounded in the Sunset Strip scene hindered Love, his band, from expanding. With minimal touring, Love lived the life of rock stars without the hard work of touring, a crucial aspect of success for many acts even today.

    Despite these challenges, Arthur Lee’s music endured, and his legend continues to grow posthumously. His bandmate, Johnny Echols, the last remaining member of Love, still carries the torch. While America may have spurned Arthur Lee, England recognized his talent and embraced him, elevating him to the status of a music god.

    This updated edition of Forever Changes: The Authorized Biography Of Arthur Lee And Love adds a new foreword by Love’s co-founder and lead guitarist, Johnny Echols.

    In 1966, he was Prince of the Sunset Strip, busy with his pioneering racially mixed band, Love, and accelerating the evolution of California folk-rock by infusing it with jazz and orchestral influences, a process that would climax in a timeless masterpiece, the Love album Forever Changes.

    Shaped by a Memphis childhood and a South Los Angeles youth, Lee always craved fame. He would achieve his ambition with a mixture of vaulting talent and colossal chutzpah. Drug use and a reticence to tour were his Achilles heels, and he succumbed to a dissolute lifestyle just as superstardom was beckoning.

    Despite endorsements from the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, Lee’s subsequent career was erratic and haunted by the shadow of Forever Changes, reaching a nadir with his imprisonment in 1996 for a firearms offense. Redemption followed, culminating in an astonishing postmillennial comeback that found him playing Forever Changes to adoring, multi-generational fans around the world. This upswing was only interrupted by his untimely death from leukemia in 2006.

    Written with the full consent and cooperation of Arthur’s widow, Diane Lee, Forever Changes is a meticulously researched biography that includes lengthy extracts from Arthur’s vivid, comic, and poignant memoirs, published here for the first time. Author John Einarson has also amassed dozens of new interviews with the surviving members of Love and with many others who fell into the incomparable Lee’s flamboyant orbit. 

    Here’s a curated list of Arthur Lee’s top seven albums, showcasing his diverse musical genius and enduring impact:

    1. “Forever Changes” (1967)
    2. “Da Capo” (1966)
    3. “Love” (1966)
    4. “Four Sail” (1969)
    5. “Reel to Real” (1974)
    6. “Out Here” (1969)
    7. “False Start” (1970)

    Rick Reuben shows great love for Love’s Johnny Echols on his podcast with a rare interview with Love’s iconic guitarist.

    Tony M.