Love Story

Love Story | Start
By JEFF TAMARKIN  |  July 22, 2008
4.0 4.0 Stars
In 2003, two years after his release from prison on gun charges, Arthur Lee, the creative force behind the ’60s LA band Love, played a handful of concerts where he and his then-current band re-created Forever Changes, Love’s 1967 landmark album — a landmark that had peaked at #154 on the Billboard chart. The concerts were received rapturously, affirmation that, in the decades since the demise of Love, Lee and his crowning achievement had, despite a massive public shrug outside Los Angeles during their existence (due largely to Lee’s refusal to tour), taken on mythic proportions. It was enough to justify this nearly two-hour documentary chronicling the band’s brief but remarkable run. The 2003 concerts and Lee’s subsequent death are treated as footnotes, and that’s as it should be — the film remains absorbing as it arcs from the band’s formation to their signing to Elektra, the artistic growth spurts (their first three albums, culminating with Forever Changes, were all recorded in 1966-’67), and the inevitable crash amid rancor and hard drugs. Love were one of rock’s first interracial bands, and Lee’s genius as their chief songwriter, musician, and bandleader is reinforced here by former band members, label associates, and others — even those who’d left disillusioned at the time. Lee himself, in his final interview, comes off as articulate, level-headed, and introspective, qualities that must at times have eluded him during Love’s peak. “I was kind of spaced in those days,” he admits.
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