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Forever Changes: Arthur Lee and the Book of Love Paperback – 1 May 2010
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...It's a chastening read that takes one from the exuberent euphoria of the late '60s, through the dark days of drug dependency and reclusion, to the brief resurgence of hope that presaged his eventual succumbing to leukaemia. At every turn, for all Lee's canny grasp of some music-industry matters - he was one of the first songwriters to insist on retention of his publishing rights - it reads like a "how not to succeed" guide to the music business.
--Word magazine, July 2010
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Widely hailed as a genius, Arthur Lee was a character every bit as colorful and unique as his music. 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 1996 imprisonment for a firearms offence. Redemption followed, culminating in an astonishing post-millennial 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.
Writing with the full consent and cooperation of Arthur's widow, Diane Lee, author John Einarson has meticulously researched a biography that includes lengthy extracts from the singer's vivid, comic, and poignant memoirs, published here for the first time. Einarson has also amassed dozens of new interviews with the surviving members of Love and with many others who fell into the incomparable Arthur Lee's flamboyant orbit.
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Top customer reviews
He was not a saint but he also had some nice qualities as a human being and musician.
I really enjoyed the book and discovered a lot of things about the band Love and how any music this good could be created under the conditions that existed.
There are omissions in the book, for instance the UK tours in the mid seventies aren't mentioned, but the main fault is that the author does not differentiate between fans of the group Love and fans of the album Forever Changes. However, as a chronicle of Arthur Lee's ego trip, it comes as close as you're likely to get.
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