Sunday, November 11, 2012

forever changes

Love imploded as it reached the heights of ecstacy with the haunting psychedelic poetry of this compelling and consequential counterculture classic. 'Forever Changes' was co-produced by Bruce Botnick and Arthur Lee at Sunset Sound Recorders in Hollywood in just sixty-four hours. After the release of their previous album 'Da Capo', Alban "Snoopy" Pfisterer and Tjay Cantrelli left the group, leaving Lee on lead vocals and guitar; Johnny Echols on lead guitar; Bryan MacLean on rhythm guitar and vocals; Ken Forssi on bass guitar; and Michael Stuart on drums and percussion. David Angel provided arrangements and orchestrations; with strings by Robert Barene, Arnold Belnick, James Getzoff, Marshall Sosson, Darrel Terwilliger, Norman Botnick, Jesse Ehrlich, and Chuck Berghofer; and horns by Bud Brisbois, Roy Caton, Ollie Mitchell, and Richard Leith. Carol Kaye contributed some bass guitar; Don Randi added some piano; Billy Strange did some guitar; and Hal Blaine played drums. Neil Young is said to have provided some arrangements while he was initially involved as producer; but Young denies this.

The sessions were fraught with strife as MacLean fought with Lee to get more of his songs on the album:   "I wrote a string of songs...the songs that we did - there would not be as many of mine as his. Lee would never actually say, 'I reject this; this is no good.' He would always say, 'This is great.'...He would take the idea into his own version."

Lee would later consider the influence of drugs on the music:  "It was a big party, but there was a price to pay, and some people didn't survive...To make a long story short: my friends died rock stars. Jimi Hendrix died; he was just like a brother to me. Janis Joplin died; she was like a distant cousin to me. Jim Morrison died; he wanted to be like me. You know, these things affected me...I thought I was gonna die at the age of twenty-six. I believed those were my last words to the planet."

'Forever Changes' only made it to number one hundred and fifty four on the US album chart and hit number twenty-four in the UK. It is now recognized as an influential document of the Summer of Love. The acoustic and orchestral sound was a departure from their edgy garage roots; yet its emotional and ethereal melodies would reveal darker visions of alienation and paranoia that would be reflected in the changing times.  Love would continue after this album; but with only Lee from the original group. 

'Forever Changes'

full album:

All songs written by Arthur Lee, except where noted.

Side one
"Alone Again Or" (Bryan MacLean) – 3:16
"A House Is Not a Motel" – 3:31
"Andmoreagain" - 3:18
"The Daily Planet" – 3:30
"Old Man" (MacLean) – 3:02
"The Red Telephone" – 4:46
Side two
"Maybe the People Would Be the Times or Between Clark and Hilldale" – 3:34
"Live and Let Live" – 5:26
"The Good Humor Man He Sees Everything Like This" – 3:08
"Bummer in the Summer" – 2:24
"You Set the Scene" – 6:56

'Wonder People (I Do Wonder)'
'Your Mind and We Belong Together'
'Laughing Stock'

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