Another recovery effort, this time musical. If the title of the diary means anything to you, yes, that's exactly the late '60s group I'm going to discuss tonight. Some of the diary stems from the notes I have for a course I taught called "Cultural History of the United States" which I had to interrupt -- about 120 years out of sequence -- the day the founder and the lead singer of the group died.
So here's a picture of the rock group:
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So here's the song in the title of the diary. Yes it took me until I was adding comments to this TODAY to recognize the irony in the title of the song, and yes, I didn't begin to draft this until after Jim died. Thank you, subconscious, for prompting me:
It's from their third (and FINAL, at least in my estimation) album, the one that got the most critical acclaim. That one was called Forever Changes and what made it exceptional was that at the beginning of the era of psychedelic rock that used electrical instruments, this album was relentlessly acoustic (and everybody I knew owned it). It's not that the group was committed to acoustic instruments as a matter of principle; their first two albums were emphatically NOT acoustic, as you can tell from this song, 7 and 7 Is. I've read that it's Arthur Lee's gloss on Gnostic symbolism, but for me, what's important is that the noise of an explosion at the end is the sound of a hydrogen bomb.
That, and it's just so damn memorable. Incidentally, I don't know that ANY rock group had the range that Love had, and I'll show you that via a couple of other songs from the second album, Da Capo
So some very subjective history. Their first hit (and this should tell you a LOT about the 1960s) was a cover of a song Burt Bacharach and Hal David had written for a VERY funny movie, What's New, Pussycat. The comments over at youtube for the two versions the British group Manfred Mann recorded for the film tell you that British Invasion fans weren't 100% behind Love, but here's their version of it. Minor hit, Wikipedia says. From American Bandstand, 1966. You didn't go on Bandstand with minor hits.
From the first eponymous album, Love. Frankly, the first album didn't show you much about what the group was capable of. If I thought anything else from it was worth listening to, I'd include it. As you see . . .
Love was released in April, 1966. By then, they were performing regularly (and I really can't resist these psychedelic posters from that era).
And then, in November, 1967, Forever Changes. How to edit. Two more songs, one from the first side, Track 5, Old Man
and the first cut on the second side, Track 7, Maybe the People Would Be the Times or Between Clark and Hilldale. 13 years after Forever Changes was released, Jim and I moved into an apartment on Clark St. where we spent the next three years. Whisky a-Go-Go was and still is at the corner of Clark and Sunset, and Clark is what San Vicente Blvd. changes into when it crosses Sunset. Interesting building, too. Jim called me at work one day to tell me that O.J. Simpson was visiting someone in the building, and I saw O.J there too on anther occasion. Yes, this is the building where the apartment Nicole Brown shared with Faye Resnick was. I thought they were hookers.
There are other later albums, according to Wikipedia, but they don't figure in my memory. It's said Arthur Lee's best contribution to music came when he introduced his friend Jim Morrison to the record label that recorded Love, Elektra. And here's an example from the Doors (from their FOURTH album, which showed that had Jim Morrison hadn't overdosed in 1971 the Doors might still be headlining in Las Vegas [and I'm still not sure that that had nothing to do with the overdose]) of how rock could have gone in another direction. Oboes!
This is already more self-indulgent than I intended it to be, because, as I've been thinking about this, maybe they weren't as important as I think they were, and maybe this diary has been more about me than about them. Still,this is a rock group I remember well enough to invite you to remember with me and about whom you can draw your own conclusions. Thank you for indulging me.
And now for the real reasons you come here: