Sunday, August 06, 2006

Arthur Lee 'the black hippy' dies

Yo La Tengo and Johnny Echols

Yo La Tengo and Johnny Echols

By Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles
Published: 05 August 2006

Arthur Lee, one of the heroes of 1960s West Coast progressive rock whose band Love recorded the classic psychedelic album Forever Changes, has died of cancer at the age of 61.
Lee, who liked to refer to himself as the first black hippy, led a wild and frequently unpredictable life before waging a public battle against the acute myeloid leukaemia that eventually killed him. He died on Thursday in his home town of Memphis with his wife, Diane, by his side.
"His death comes as a shock to me because Arthur had the uncanny ability to bounce back from everything, and leukaemia was no exception," his manager, Mark Linn, said.
Lee moved out to Los Angeles as a young man and formed Love, the first multiracial band of the era, in 1965. He was both the lead guitarist and lead singer, and the driving force behind the group's three albums. Love's second release, Da Capo, was notable at the time because it featured one song, "Revelation", that took up an entire side of the record.
Forever Changes, which came out in 1967, was hailed as a bold response to the Beatles' Sergeant Pepper album and is regularly ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the greatest albums ever recorded.
Love lost momentum after that, and Lee spent much of the rest of his career feeding off his early successes, most notably with a series of critically acclaimed live performances of his old hits in the past few years to his dedicated fans.

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