After briefly recording with a seven-man lineup for 1967's Da Capo, Love were reduced to five members again when Tjay Cantrelli and Alban Pfisterer left, leaving them with frontman Arthu Lee, rhythm guitarist Bryan MacLean, lead guitarist Johnny Echols, bassist Ken Forssi and drummer Michael Stuart. Due to tension between Lee and MacLean, along with a great deal of substance abuse, the band was actually starting to fall apart by this point. This makes the fact that their third album turned out so brilliantly rather surprising, especially considering it was recorded very quickly with lots of session musicians. It was almost recorded entirely with the session musicians backing Lee and MacLean, as ended up being the case for two songs, but the rest of the band apparently got their act together in time.
Forever Changes was thus a surprise masterpiece, a work of art that continues to defy categorization to this day. Superb songs from both Lee and MacLean were given brilliant arrangements, often based around acoustic guitars and perfectly embellished with orchestral backing arranged by David Angel. Mariachi horns also added a unique flavour in places. The highlight was without a doubt the opening track "Alone Again Or", written by MacLean and sung by both Lee and MacLean together - it is what can be called a perfect song and a perfect production, and indeed the best three minutes seventeen seconds of Love's entire career. The rest of the album was almost as good.
Unfortunately it didn't get the recognition it deserved in the US (the fate of the band's entire career to be honest), though it did get to #24 on the UK album chart. Over the years its reputation has grown, and it is today a very highly regarded album, considered by many to be the best of the whole decade.
Following its release, Arthur Lee dismissed the other four members and formed a new lineup, which were never nearly as successful or interesting.
Da Capo (1967) <|> Four Sail (1969)
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