Monday, July 9, 2012


Sorry, rock critics, Beatle fans, and all-around music geeks, but the greatest LP released in 1967 was NOT "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". It was Love's "Forever Changes", an LP so far ahead of its time (yet so timeless), that pop music is STILL trying to capture its stately perfection.

Released in November, 1967, a full year after the group's last LP (which, back then, was a LIFETIME between LPs),"Forever Changes" perfectly crystallizes the other side of the Summer Of Love - the seeds of what came next in that horrible year of 1968.

This song from that LP covers a lot of the alienation people were feeling, as if something really, really bad was coming over the horizon. "In my house I've got no shackles/you can come and look if you want to", this song's first line, suggests freedom, but Arthur Lee sees it differently; YOU can come and look, he says, but I'm staying put, here on my own turf. And as much as you call his name, he's STILL not coming out. Kind of a nice allegory for Love's career, actually - they were HUGE in Los Angeles, but never made it nationally because Arthur refused to tour outside of the LA area.

Arthur also predicts the America of the 21st century with the line "The news today will be the movies for tomorrow" - hell, Oliver Stone and half the crap on the Lifetime Network should be paying royalties to Arthur Lee's estate! But the scariest imagery comes through at the end, when Arthur sings: "And the water's turned to blood/and if you don't think so/go turn on your tub/and if it's mixed with mud/you'll see it turn to gray". These lines come from a conversation that Arthur Lee had with a soldier who had just come back from his tour of duty in Vietnam. The soldier told him that the one thing he'd always remember was that human blood, once a crimson red, turned gray when it flowed into the mud.

"Forever Changes" did not sell well upon initial release (it only hit #154 on Billboard's LP chart, and that was probably based on massive sales in LA and almost nowhere else). In February, 1968, the group finally released a single from the LP - "Alone Again Or"/"A House Is Not A Motel". "Alone Again Or" charted high in LA (of course) and failed everywhere else. By this point, the group itself was in tatters, with several members addicted to heroin and money problems were rampant. After releasing the non-LP single "Your Mind And We Belong Together" in June, 1968, the group splintered, with Arthur retaining the group name for future projects.

If you've never heard "Forever Changes", do yourself a favor and get a copy. It really is scary how good it is. It could have been released this morning and would still sound fresh.

By the way, this is the first music link I uploaded in STEREO. Best part is, it's TRUE stereo. So listen on earphones if you can!

Love - A House Is Not A Motel (Elektra 45629) - 1968

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