Arthur Lee, R.I.P.


The auteur behind one of the most beautiful and stirring (and often brilliantly dark) works of popular music of the 20th century, the LP Forever Changes by his band Love, has died of leukemia. (He was also, incidentally, victim of a mindless application of California's "three strikes" law that had him sentenced to 8 to 12 years for firing a gun, illegally possessed, into the air. He only ended up serving six, and part of the charge was dismissed later because of prosecutorial misconduct.)

The album remains an endless source of wonder, ornate orchestrated psychedelia of a sort few could emulate or match, and standing on Sunset Blvd. on a warm-not-hot and gleaming blue Los Angeles late summer afternoon watching him and his latest incarnation of the band emit with joy and precision some of its best songs at Sunset Junction a few years back was, simply, a really great afternoon in my life, and thank you Mr. Lee. "This is the time and life that I am living/And I'll face each day with a smile/For the time that I've been given's such a little while/And the things that I must do consist of more than style/There are places that I am going/There'll be time for you to start all over/This is the time and this is the time and/It is time, time, time, time, time…."