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Arthur Lee: Alone Again Or (Mojo Heroes). [Hardcover]

Barney Hoskyns
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 Oct 2001
Arthur Lee and the band he fronted, Love, are widely acknowledged to be one of the most influential groups of the late '60s and their psychedelic-folk masterpiece, Forever Changes, regularly appears high in polls of the greatest albums of all time. Lee led this erratically brilliant group throughout a tempestuous history of dissolutions and resurrections, while also releasing three solo albums. Amazingly, the Love story has never been properly told - until now. In his superb biography of Lee, acclaimed music writer Barney Hoskyns paints a portrait of a musician who delivered (some) great things, yet promised so much more. With Lee, it has always been difficult to shake the feeling of what might have been. Including in-depth interviews with Lee, guitarist Bryan Maclean (who died in 1998) and many others involved in the LA scene of the time, this fascinating tale reveals the dark side of the Summer of Love - heroin, crime and bitter ego battles - while also tracking Lee's musical career through the post-Love years to his present incarceration in a US jail. As a story, it's as rock'n'roll as they get.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: MOJO Books; First edition edition (15 Oct 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841950858
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841950853
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 13 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,075,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"A good story, great music and a bunch of fascinatingly fucked-up lives."

About the Author

After three years as MOJO's US Bureau Chief, Barney Hoskyns returned to London in 1999 and is now Editorial Director of the Rock's Backpages website []. The author of such books as Across the Great Divide: The Band and America (1993), Waiting for the Sun: Strange Days, Weird Scenes & the Sound Of Los Angeles (1996) and, most importantly, The Mullet: Hairstyle of the Gods (1999). Hoskyns has written for GQ, Rolling Stone, Harper's Bazaar, Spin, the Guardian and the Independent and recently edited The Sound and the Fury: A Rock's Backpages Reader.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hack job! 28 July 2010
It's rare for any book to truly annoy me, but this one really succeeded. I couldn't find a speck of original research in this book anywhere; in my opinion, it's simply been hacked together from previously published articles on Arthur Lee and Love in magazines like 'Bucketful of Brains', 'Record Collector' and 'The Castle'.
It barely qualifies as a 'book' anyway - it's more like a Sixth Form essay on a famous cultural icon, complete with ill-considered (and to my mind frankly plain DUMB) opinions on Arthur's post 'Forever Changes' releases. Barney, if you can't see any quality in releases like 'Four Sail' and 'Out Here', then you really shouldn't be writing about music at all, never mind Love!
I wonder how much Mojo paid BH for this tripe?! I find it particularly apt that sellers are now offering it up for 1p! Cheap at half the price! Rant over.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine, concise account of Love's story 5 May 2004
Barney Hoskyns has delivered a clear-eyed, unsentimental account of the twisted genesis of Love, the multi-racial band that bloomed in Los Angeles in the mid-1960s and gave us the classic Lp "Forever Changes". Even though the book centers on band front man Arthur Lee by necessitiy, Hoskyns sifts through the myriad stories & myths surrounding the band to give an objective look at the lives of all the band members and how these "punks before punk was invented" soared creatively while hobbling their musical careers with bad decisions.
Even though the classic Love line-up was the only one really made a mark musically, Hoskyns also gives a fine account of the ever-changing line-ups and Lps of the band's post-"Forever" period & gives a gripping account of the stupid, tragic events leading up to Lee's unjust incarceration in the mid-1990s with sufficient detachment.
A very good read, indeed. Bring on the updated version!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a true maverick 25 Feb 2014
By Chrism
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book gives an excellent guide to the earlier music by Love. While giving a wonderful description of the times and the music, it also shows what a dictator Arthur Lee was and how he side-lined Bryan Maclean and others when he thought that they were becoming as popular as himself. The book itself was well-packaged and in excellent condition.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1.8 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What was the point? 31 Dec 2001
By T. M. O'Donovan - Published on
In a word, this book is terrible. Perhaps the author was working with a very limited budget from the publishing house, but there is no doubt that this is one of the most poorly researched books I have ever read. It reads more like a long internet article from a casual fan. First of all, the subject of this book, Arthur Lee, was apparently only interviewed once, a few years back. And it wasn't much of an interview. Bryan Maclean was only interviewed once prior to his death. The rest of the material comes from liner notes from repackaged CDs and three magazine interviews of Arthur Lee in the early 1970s. Not a single interview with a contemporary of Arthur Lee such as Neil Young or David Crosby. Moreover, no interview with Johnny Echols! In fact, Echols was interviewed for the liner notes of the Love's first album and directly contradicts the book's account as to how Love took its name and how the Leaves got "Hey Joe" from Love. Whether Echols' account was true or not - this author makes no mention of it and obviously made no attempt to interview Echols. What attempt did he make to interview Lee from jail? Don't waste your money like me. A disaster from start to finish. And a complete con job!
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars no new information 17 Jan 2002
By Stephen F Mulcahy - Published on
This book barely contains any new information about Arthur Lee and his fascinating and brilliant group. It's ok if you don't know much about the group but die hard Lee fans will be quite disappointed in this book. I agreewith the other reviewers : most of this book I've read before in liner notes and online postings. This is strange because Hoskyns' other books that I've read (on The Band and music in Los Angeles) were engaging, informative, and entertaining. In addition, he writes for MOJO magazine, a British publication that is top notch. It's puzzling how he could write such an inferior work as this. I also don't know why Hoskyns loathes the post Forever Changes music by Love so much. Granted,it's not as essential as the first three albums, but still it is generally quite good. Overall, this is a very disappointing book.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Severly Disappointing 8 Jan 2002
By koolvibe - Published on
DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT buy this book, especially if you are an Arthur Lee or Love fan. Nearly everything that is included in this book as already been published on the internet. It's almost as if Hoskyns didn't even write the book, since he pulls so much of his material from previous newspaper and magazine articles. He didn't even interview Lee in jail - didn't speak to Johnny Echols (who EVERYONE has been wondering about).
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars And Less Again! 18 Feb 2002
By Shawn Sutherland - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Love story proper offers everything necessary to create one incredibly good book: fantastic music (the band recorded three mind-blowing albums in the mid/late 1960's ["Love", "Da Capo", and "Forever Changes"]); a reclusive and temperamental helmsman (Arthur Lee) whose nature cost the band much deserved exposure and success; and another incredibly creative force - the emotionally hypersensitive Bryan MacLean whose life could be called anything but ordinary. And that's just what readily comes to mind!

Consequently, it is amazing that anyone could take all of the above parts and create such an awful mess! The "book" (it's less than 200 pages, double-spaced, and with incredibly wide margins on all four sides!) barely skims the surface of everything about Lee and Love that COULD be explored. Instead, as another reviewer noted, the author merely repackages quotations and data from pre-existing magazine articles, reviews, and the like. (It looks and reads about like a research paper that a high school student might write.)

And forget this book if you're looking to learn anything about Lee's later efforts and experiences!

You'll probably have more fun (and come out with the same information) by just going to a university library and pulling back issues of publications from the 1960's or just reading the liner notes of some of the reissues that are out there.

Does anyone have any further information on the other Lee biography that the author quotes continually. Perhaps it's a good book....somebody let me know.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Did not read the book, but a wasted opportunity nonetheless! 18 April 2010
By J. Chacko - Published on
I have only recently got into the music of Love. It is quite unfortunate and a national tragedy that this band will never get the decent autobiography it deserves, since the major players have passed on to the hereafter. Besides the enigmatic Arthur Lee, Bryan MacLean led a very interesting life (going by the little I have read on this musician). He appears to have grown up in an upper class Los Angeles family, had met very many famous celebrities while very young (Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minneli)- all of which would have made great reading. Also interesting would have been exploring the reasons why this band never toured while in its hayday (ie: interviewing the bands' managers) This author has squandered the opportunity to do justice to this incredible band by not writing a competent biography with "Alone Again Or". And it is a bloody shame!!!
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