UPDATE: The Estate of Arthur Lee has launched an official website for Arthur, "Keeping the Legacy Alive." Please visit LoveArthurLee.com for photos, video, unique recordings and more in this ever-building archive.
Thank you for the Love and the Music.


Photographed with love by Ronnie Haran Mellen

Arthur Lee (1945-2006)
It is impossible to sum up Arthur and his music in one statement, or how to put
Arthur's music or what it meant to me into words. Lyrics of abstract depth, a
voice with an angelic quality one minute and menacing the next... an unlimited
number of voices. Musical surprises and music that has been unequaled up until
now... it never will be. Arthur was a genius, a complicated, unique person. I
compare Arthur more to a great painter who understood the use of color and
texture and knew how to vary his pallete to create whatever he saw in his mind.
I want to share part of a poem by Diana Darby who knew and loved him, as we all
did.

I see him
softly humming purple orchestras
in his head.
The notes trapped beneath
his skin,
like the cancer.
I see him
drifting in and out of
the day
coming in colors
like the tide.
The bloody water
bringing in new life
and taking out the old.

The following is a note I sent out to friends late last night:
Arthur Lee died peacefully at Methodist Hospital in Memphis, a little after four
in the afternoon Aug 3, 2006 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 leukemia was no exception. He was confident that he would be
back on stage by the fall.

When I visited with him recently, he was visibly moved by the stories and
pictures from the NYC benefit concert. We watched the DVD of the great House Of
Blues concert from '03, and he told me how much he appreciated Baby Lemonade's dedication to his music. He was truly grateful for the outpouring of love from friends and fans all over the world since news of his illness became public.

Arthur always lived in the moment, and said what he thought when he thought it.
I'll miss his phone calls, and his long voice messages, but most of all I'll
miss Arthur playing Arthur's music.

- Mark Linn

There is a BBC news piece online: (among many others, there are more links on the Love website) with 10+ pages of quotes from fans... this one is especially great:

"At a time when America was dancing to the sunshine vibes of flower power,Arthur
Lee lifted the lid on the whole hippy movement and particularly LA life to
reveal something altogether seamier and disturbing. While the music of Love's eternally fascinating, classic album Forever Changes was at times breathtaking in its beautiful arrangements many of the lyrics dealt with the menacing undercurrant of death, ageing, and social isolation. Arthur was America's foremost musical visionary." -Mike B. Ace, Belsize Park, London


A Love Society EXCLUSIVE!
Vinyl Single on Color Wax
Click to enlarge

$15 PP
(US dom. shipping)
$20 PP
(Int'l shipping)

ARTHUR LEE: STAY AWAY
b/w YOU I'LL BE FOLLOWING

Announcing the release of never-issued 1965 pre-Love demos Stay Away by the American Four b/w You I’ll Be Following by the Grass Roots, two pre-Love combos that included Arthur Lee and on guitar, the great Johnny Echols. Johnny contributed boss interview notes to our 45 which boasts an insanely cool unknown photo of the American Four (sportin’ Beatle wigs). This limited first pressing is on wild marble colored wax- no two records the same - THEY COME IN COLORS that run a swirly rainbow gamut! These colored wax singles are available only at the tribute shows or on this benefit website, with proceeds going directly to Arthur.


Limited Edition
Silkscreened Poster.
Click to enlarge

$25 PP
(US dom. shipping)
$30 PP
(Int'l shipping)

6/23/06 For The Love Of Arthur Benefit Concert at NYC's Beacon Theatre.


Arthur Lee: by Tom Sheehan

Arthur Lee Appreciation:
By John Densmore
Rolling Stone
The Big Takeover
Memphis Flyer
BBC
Uncut
Many, many more as the world
pays tribute to Arthur.
>>


Live Review: Robert Plant,
Ryan Adams Do It For Love
at Benefit Concert
by David Fricke



MAY 20, 2006
New York Times
A few weeks ago, Steve Weitzman, a New York concert promoter, heard that Arthur Lee, the singer and songwriter of the 1960's psychedelic-rock band Love - never big stars, but much admired by critics and other musicians - had leukemia, and he began to put together a benefit concert to help cover Mr. Lee's medical expenses. A date of June 23 at the Beacon Theater in Manhattan was set, and the roster quickly began to fill up: Ryan Adams, Ian Hunter, Yo La Tengo, Nils Lofgren and Garland Jeffreys have already been confirmed. But one of the most enthusiastic volunteers was Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin. He said he would happily sing with anyone, and then, Mr. Weitzman said, "he said something I never imagined Robert Plant would say: 'Is it O.K. if I do any Led Zeppelin songs?' " The answer was a vigorous yes.



6/23 NYC Beacon Theatre
Benefit Concert Coverage!



JUNE 26, 2006: Live Review: Robert Plant, Ryan Adams
Do It For Love at Arthur Lee Benefit Concert

Robert Plant ended his headlining hour at “We’re Doing It for Love” – a benefit for Arthur Lee, the ailing singer-songwriter of the pioneering Los Angeles band Love, at New York’s Beacon Theater on June 23rd – with “Ramble On” from Led Zeppelin II. It was a perfect finale, a thrilling folk-rock gallop with Plant singing of those “days of old, when magic filled the air” with the same excited, forward motion he heard as a teenager in Love’s classic mid- and late-Sixties albums. Most of the acts on the bill played at least one Love or Lee song: Nils Lofgren (pictured) put Stratocaster electricity into the flamenco diamond “Alone Again Or,” from 1968’s Forever Changes. Garland Jeffreys sang “My Little Red Book” acapella, reading the lyrics from – what else? – a little red book. Yo La Tengo flashed their encyclopedic-geek credentials by pulling out “Luci Baines,” an homage to then-President Lyndon Johnson’s daughter, written and recorded by Lee in 1964 with his pre-Love band the American Four. (“Written” is stretching it; the song was “Twist and Shout” with new lyrics.)

But Plant – working with a band of New York-based players, on two days’ rehearsal – truly came for the love of Lee (who is battling leukemia in a Memphis hospital and has no medical insurance). Plant mixed psychedelicized Zeppelin (“In the Evening,” “What Is and What Shall Never Be”) with a genuine-fans’ selection of vintage Love, including the delicate Forever Changes ballad “The Old Man” (Plant acknowledged its writer, Love’s late, often overlooked guitarist Bryan MacLean) and a Zeppelin-ized reimagining of “Seven and Seven Is” from 1967’s Da Capo (with a surprise tease of Neil Young’s “Cowgirl in the Sand”). Plant gave extra credit where credit was due by bringing original Love guitarist Johnny Echols out to reprise his leads on “A House Is Not a Motel” and “Bummer in the Summer.” But Plant is a catholic classicist. He followed a dynamic march through Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” with a rowdy duet with Mott The Hoople’s Ian Hunter, also on the show – the pair of them making like a heavy-glam Everly Brothers on “When Will I Be Loved.” Plant also showed off his big love of Elvis Presley with a startling, credible croon through “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You.”

There were some false notes on the long way (four hours) to Plant’s midnight set. Flashy Python and the Body Snatchers – a mix of members from Dr. Dog and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, with a bad-Sixties name – sounded like an under-rehearsed side project. Ryan Adams and the Cardinals played raw, hard urban-prairie rock: fine in itself but out of joint with the evening’s context. And singer-songwriter Gavin DeGraw, apparently shoehorned onto the bill for no other reason than he was in town that day, was a prolonged irritant, mangling Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” with exaggerated faux-soul. If he’d been there, Lee, legendary for his cantankerous manner and dictatorial quality control, would surely have kicked DeGraw off the stage in mid-woah.

But the late payoffs – Lofgren’s long guitar-solo revel in Bruce Springsteen’s “Because the Night”; Hunter’s serving of classic Mott – were worth the wait. And Plant’s dedication to the occasion, in performance and song selection, affirmed why Lee is an artist worth celebrating and aiding. Near the end of his version of “Hey Joe,” Plant took a detour into “Nature Boy,” the pastoral ballad made famous by Nat King Cole, repeating the last lines like both prayer and hurrah: “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn/Is just to love and be loved in return.”

The best way to do that is while Lee is still here. For donation information and updates on Lee’s condition, go to thelovesociety.com. [robert plant photo: http://www.bpfallon.com]
-- David Fricke



July 25, 2006
A Month on the Town: The man who's reviewed 12,000 records reviews 32 shows in 30 days. By Robert Christgau

"...Plant owns any room he enters. He could have fobbed off three Loves, three Zeps, a solo promo, and "Danny Boy." Instead he spent two days with the pickup band, rehearsing a set that honored Lee personally and culturally. The Zeps were early, the Loves exquisite. "For What It's Worth" led to a Hunter-assisted Everlys tune (the Elderly Brothers, Weitzman called them) and "Can't Help Falling in Love." Highlighted was "Hey Joe"–a perfect Zep-Love link, misogyny and all. And into the middle of a psychedelic fantasia–based on his own 2002 revival, not Love's peppy single or Hendrix's psychodrama–Plant inserted "Nature Boy," an inspired evocation of Arthur Lee the L.A. eccentric even if you didn't know its composer was an L.A. longhair when there were no longhairs and its hit version a turning point for black pop pathfinder Nat Cole. At 57, Plant no longer had his high end. But because the music was new and the occasion felt, he was singing fresh. This wasn't the somewhat automatic mastery of great Springsteen or Stones. It was a lesson in charisma full of near misses and intricate meshes, the most life-affirming thing I witnessed all month. My daughter and I fought through the rain at 1:30 a.m. just as if we weren't exhausted."
Click for full story...


MAY 15, 2006: RYAN ADAMS & NILS LOFGREN ADDED...

New confirmations!
We are excited to announce that Ryan Adams and Nils Lofgren have been added to the June 23 benefit concert!

The line-up: Robert Plant, Ian Hunter, Ryan Adams, Yo La Tengo, Nils Lofgren, Johnny Echols, Garland Jeffreys, Johnny Echols and Flashy Python and The Body Snatchers (featuring Alec Ounsworth of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah).

Inquiries, please contact:
Mark Linn c/o Delmore Recording Society
Phone: 615.480.6923 | delmores@comcast.net


MAY 6, 2006: UPDATES
  • Yo La Tengo added to June 23 New York City concert!
  • Credit card donations link is now hot for Arthur Tribute fund. We have received donations from around the world. Thank you to everyone, and please spread the love.
  • The doctor has requested that we make a correction. Arthur doesn't have ALL, he has AML, Acute Myelogenous Leukemia.
  • Look for another feature in Rolling Stone's 1,000th print issue.

 
APRIL 27, 2006:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New York Concert Date And
Initial Performers Announced!

WE’RE DOING IT FOR LOVE
A Benefit Concert For Arthur Lee

The first in a series of benefit concerts for Love frontman Arthur Lee has been confirmed in New York City. The show is June 23, 2006 at The Beacon Theatre. Tickets are on sale May 12 at noon.

Confirmed performers include Robert Plant, Ian Hunter Band, Johnny Echols, Garland Jeffreys and Alec Ounsworth (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah), who is organizing an Indie-Rock Supergroup for the occasion.

Inquiries, please contact:
Mark Linn
Delmore Recording Society
Phone: 615.480.6923
delmores@comcast.net


APRIL 7, 2006


Love's Arthur Lee Battling Leukemia
~Jonathan Cohen, NY / April 07, 2006, 10:30 AM ET

Love frontman Arthur Lee is battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia, according to a post from Los Angeles-based club booker Liz Garo on noted Love fan site. Lee has undergone three weeks of chemotherapy but continued treatment and a possible bone marrow transplant are looming.

As Lee is uninsured, friends are organizing a Los Angeles benefit concert for late May or early June. Garo says such venues as the Avalon, Disney Hall, the Greek Theatre and the El Rey Theatre are in consideration and that Calexico, Cake and X have been contacted to participate.
"We are looking for artists to perform a few of Arthur's songs that capture the spirit and magic of Arthur Lee and Love," Garo writes.

Highlighted by the 1967 masterpiece "Forever Changes," Love crafted some of the most celebrated rock'n'roll of the psychedelic rock era. But its legacy languished in the ensuing years due to Lee's unpredictable behavior and prison stint on a weapons violation.

After being released from jail in late 2001, Lee assembled a new version of Love that enjoyed success touring in Europe and North America, often playing "Forever Changes" in its entirety.

Last summer, Lee's backing band, Baby Lemonade, announced it would no longer perform with him, citing the "steady decline" of his "mental and physical health." In recent months, Lee had assembled a new backing group from his new home base of Memphis.

But according to Garo's post, "Baby Lemonade is available to back up any singer" at the benefit "and there will be a string section as well."