Love, Forever Changes and “Alone Again Or”

Well, my last post was a very long one so you’ll be glad to know that this is going to be a shorter, mid-week mini-post. I recently had a comment from a new visitor to this place who knew me from another blog we both frequent (that would be Rich’s KamerTunesBlog). It had come to his attention that I’d written a post called LOVE, Young People and “Don’t Look Back In Anger” and had assumed it was about the band Love. Sadly for him it wasn’t, it was about the One Love Manchester benefit concert that took place back in May, a couple of weeks after the city’s terrorist attack. In reply to his comment I mentioned that I didn’t really know the band Love but said I would definitely seek them out, which is exactly what I did next.

Wow, I am now in love with Love!

Love_Album_Cover

Ever since starting this blog, the year I keep returning to time and time again is 1967, and here we go again. There are many reasons why I am so fond of this particular year and I have cited them many times already but now that I recognise the sheer number of musical genres out there, the ones I warm to most were all at their peak in 1967, orchestral pop, baroque pop, folk rock and psychedelic rock. Love definitely fell into the last camp and despite having poor sales back in the late sixties, their album “Forever Changes” received great critical acclaim and is now ranked 40th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. It is also recognised as one of the finest albums to have come out of the Summer of Love.

Alone Again Or by Love:

The first track on “Forever Changes” is the song Alone Again Or which was written by bassist Brian MacLean although most of the other songs on the album were written by the band’s founder, Arthur Lee. I am pretty sure I know it from a soundtrack to a film or television show but can’t quite work out which one – Maybe someone could help me out? The song was apparently inspired by the memory of waiting for a girlfriend – The essence of it is the contrast between the upbeat tune and the sad lyrics, “And I will be alone again tonight, my dear”. Love‘s influences included folk rock, hard rock, blues, jazz, flamenco and orchestral pop so the addition of a string section and a horn part for a mariachi band seemed perfectly sensible. The song has become a true classic and has now been recorded by many other artists including The Damned.

So, “What’s It All About?” – Some bands just seem to be in the wrong place at the wrong time so despite their obvious brilliance never really get the commercial success they deserve. Love were the hippest band in LA in 1967 but because they had two black front men playing music unlikely to appeal to a black audience, they were ill-equipped to take the place of bands such as The Byrds. They became overshadowed by The Doors and Jimi Hendrix in 1967 and their drug usage started to spiral out of control. As the year ended, Love splintered apart, never to regain the same momentum. Despite a period of incarceration for gun crimes, Arthur Lee continued to work with other musicians using the band’s name until his death in 2006.

But here we are 50 years on from the now infamous Summer of Love and I am discovering Love for the first time. That all sounds a bit odd actually, but it just goes to show that you are never too old, and I am going to enjoy every little bit of it!

Alone Again Or Lyrics
(Song by Brian MacLean)

Yeah, I said it’s all right
I won’t forget
All the times I waited patiently for you
I think you’ll do (just what) you choose to do
And I will be alone again tonight my dear

Yeah, I heard a funny thing
Somebody said to me
You know that I could be in love, with almost everyone
I think that people are the greatest fun
And I will be alone again tonight, my dear

Yeah, I heard a funny thing
Somebody said to me
You know that I could be in love with almost everyone
I think that people are the greatest fun
And I will be alone again tonight, my dear

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was recorded for the film of the same name and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might finally work out the answer to his question, "What's it all about?"

39 thoughts on “Love, Forever Changes and “Alone Again Or””

  1. I’m surprised you only just discovered them, Alyson. I presumed most people at least knew Alone Again, Or. I definitely went through a serious Love phase, probably back in my 20s. Glad you’re getting to live the (late Autumn) of love one more time. (That wasn’t an age comment, btw, I’m merely referring to the time of year! We have to be so careful when leaving comments that could be misconstrued!)

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    1. The music is totally familiar but I just never associated it with a specific band before so didn’t know much about Love. I have had to wait until the late autumn as you say!

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  2. Been a fan of Love ever since their 1st album which opened with the Burt Bacharach/Hal David song “My Little Red Book”. Later, I was hooked on “August” (the month of my birthday), the 1st track on their album Four Sail. I saw Arthur Lee live at Aberdeen’s Lemon Tree about 10 years and more ago but all I can remember is that the small venue was very crowded and as a result, it was pretty shambolic. Alone Again Or was supposed to be on the 1st album but, for some reason I can’t remember, it didn’t show up until their 3rd album. The latter was another opening track – Love seemed to have a knack of kicking off their albums with a killer song.

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    1. Have just been reading up about them tonight and found out about that Bacharach/David song – Not much wonder I’m in love with Love.

      What a bizarre thing though that an older Arthur Lee appeared at Aberdeen’s Lemon Tree – Bit of a change from the Summer of Love and life in LA, what with the cold wind coming off the North Sea! Shame it turned out to be a bit shambolic as it sounds as if he really was a bit of a genius in his heyday.

      As for the first song on each album being a bit of a killer, it seems you are right.

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  3. ‘Forever Changes’ is a great album, like Rol I discovered Love in my twenties when I had a real big thing for psychedelia and ’60s beat – and Love ticked all the boxes, I mean even just to have that name! A strange coincidence though, just before I noticed you’d posted this new piece, Mr SDS was telling me that his boss had been singing ‘Alone Again Or’ all day in the van. What was particularly strange was that his boss isn’t and never has been into that sort of music at all, he’s all ’80s pop and Dire Straits, he’s also a bit of a knob to be perfectly honest, so Mr SDS was saying how bizarre and surreal it was to hear him singing that song out of the blue. No idea why he was, perhaps there’s something in the air….. !

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    1. I know it’s a rubbish play on words but I’m so glad that many of us are finding Love at the moment! At my age as well!!

      I seem to have really got into psychedelic rock and pop since starting this blog – Maybe 50 years on it’s just what is needed for today’s world. Even the Lee and Nancy duets were branded as cowboy psychedelia which is why I must love them so much. You are right though – There must be something in the air at the moment, or more precisely the airwaves, as whenever there is a collective consciousness about a particular song it’s because it’s popped up on an advert, or a film, or tv programme, or on the radio…. Who knows, but as earworms go it’s a pleasant one. Glad we’re all anonymous here as if Mr SDS’s boss ever dropped by to hear his new favourite song…..!

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    1. Thanks for dropping by – Now that I’ve discovered Forever Changes I’ll have to investigate their other albums. Funny how it’s easy to discover new and exciting stuff from 50 years ago yet I have absolutely no idea what is going on with current music! Just how it works out it seems.

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  4. I love love love this post (puns intended), and not because I was referenced in the opening paragraph. So glad you’ve discovered this band & album and they’ve made an impact on you. When Forever Changes was first reissued in expanded form (about 10-12 years ago?) I read nothing but glowing reviews in all the magazines I cared about (Mojo, Q, Uncut) and figured I should check it out. I was aware of their existence for many years but never investigated their music. I’m usually skeptical when critics endow something with such high praise so I was prepared to be underwhelmed, and instead I was blown away. It sounds like nothing else I’ve heard, before or since. The only other Love I have in my collection is a 2-CD career-spanning compilation which is really enjoyable. Needless to say, Forever Changes is well-represented. Thanks for sharing the Love. Hopefully some of your readers will be hooked and the cult will grow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha – Yes there are so many puns that can be made aren’t there: I was ready to discover Love; I didn’t know Love could be so good; I didn’t have Love in my life until now…..etc. I thought you would be a fan of this band somehow but around when you were a mere babe in arms although it does seem that the critical acclaim came so much later. I do love it (that word again) when a mariachi band features in a song and that’s just what they did here! As I said in a previous reply however, how is there time to discover lots of new current music when there is still so much quality from the past yet to be uncovered (for me anyway).

      By the way it was Phillip Helbig who dropped by this place but I couldn’t work out if he has a blog or not so couldn’t share a link. I have him to thank for this new discovery.

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      1. Yes, ’twas I. Another 15 minutes of fame. 🙂

        I’ve been saying for a while that I plan to start a blog soon. I decided to write the software from scratch, and after about a day I am about half-way finished. So, as soon as I can find another day, it will be done.

        So, no blog yet, but I’ve had web pages for about a quarter of a century. They are mostly concerned with my cosmology hat. (As it happens—and, apart from cancer acting up again, the main reason that the blog isn’t up yet—I decided to attend a conference on relativistic astrophysics in South Africa next week. The plane is leaving soon so I’ve not much time for comments today.) I do have several other hats which I wear from time to time, most of them in public. 🙂

        If you come to Cropredy next year (which you should), find me and have a chat. It was at Cropredy where I saw Robert Plant cover a song by Love with his band The Priory of Brion. My favourite Cropredy story, told by bassist Dave Pegg (paraphrased; there is a YouTube video of Peggy telling the story): I was out in the field with Percy [Robert Plant] watching the Incredible String Band….Then a bloke comes up and taps Robert on the shoulder and says “Hey mate, can you take a photo of me with Peggy?” Always the gentleman, Robert gladly snapped the picture.

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        1. Thanks for the update – I only know you from music blogs but perhaps you’re going to go down other avenues when you start your own one. We’ll look out for it!

          Hope the conference goes well next week – All sounds very scientific and highbrow. South Africa should be nice and warm however compared with the northern hemisphere at the moment.

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  5. I count myself blessed that I was lucky enough to see them (twice) live. The songs from Forever Changes still sounded so fresh and vibrant; 30 plus years after its release and it still sounded relevant. I remember I was due to do a phone interview with Lee for the paper, but he died not long before we could put the call through (his number is still in my phone!)

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    1. Just looked at your list of 50 gigs again as quite an undertaking and well remembered – I’ve gone through it before as it had the Eddie & The Hot Rods/Squeeze/Radio Stars gig on it that I wrote about earlier this year but now I also see Arthur Lee at the Rescue Rooms, Nottingham. Lynchie (above) saw him in Aberdeen as well but somehow I just want to think of Arthur and the rest of Love in California during the Summer of Love. Glad the Forever Changes set sounded good though and not dated at all. What a weird concept that you still have his number on your phone (I’m curious now about which “paper” you speak of as I haven’t followed you for that long) but there must be an awful lot of people out there who still have George Michael’s, Bowie’s, Leonard Cohen’s, Prince’s etc. etc. – How could you ever delete it?!

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    1. Oh good – glad I’ve reminded you of them. I didn’t really know of them at all although I did recognise their music so must have heard it on the radio or as the soundtrack to telly/film set in the late ’60s. We may see a Love post from you soon then?

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  6. I just checked and I have featured them only once back in December 12 in the very early days of the blog after I picked up their first album in a charity shop. They must be due another spin!

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    1. Definitely! You featured Nancy Sinatra back in the early days as well, and after I featured her here you were prompted to share something by her again, which I seem to remember went down really well. I enjoyed getting back to basics with this post – One artist, one song, simples. I’ve been making life difficult for myself of late with American Odysseys etc. – This might be the way to go if I’m going to manage to sustain longevity around here!

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  7. “the year I keep returning to time and time again is 1967”

    Yes, it was a very good year.

    When I was seventeen
    It was a very good year
    It was a very good year for small town girls
    And soft summer nights
    We’d hide from the lights
    On the village green
    When I was seventeen

    When I was twenty-one
    It was a very good year
    It was a very good year for city girls
    Who lived up the stair
    With all that perfumed hair
    And it came undone
    When I was twenty-one

    When I was thirty-five
    It was a very good year
    It was a very good year for blue-blooded girls
    Of independent means
    We’d ride in limousines
    Their chauffeurs would drive
    When I was thirty-five

    But now the days grow short
    Im in the autumn of the year
    And now I think of my life as vintage wine
    From fine old kegs
    From the brim to the dregs
    And it poured sweet and clear
    It was a very good year

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    1. I just noticed that the father of the woman mentioned two comments above sang the lyrics I just posted. 🙂

      She also sang “Summer Wine”. There is also a version by HIM singer Ville Vallo and Natalia Avelon. A woman from my Dutch class will soon be at the farewell concert of HIM. Small, small world.

      It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears
      It’s a world of hopes and a world of fears
      There’s so much that we share
      That it’s time we’re aware
      It’s a small world after all

      It’s a small world after all
      It’s a small world after all
      It’s a small world after all
      It’s a small, small world

      There is just one moon and one golden sun
      And a smile means friendship to everyone
      Though the mountains divide
      And the oceans are wide
      It’s a small world after all

      It’s a small world after all
      It’s a small world after all
      It’s a small world after all
      It’s a small, small world

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      1. Sorry, can’t resist:

        Strawberries cherries and an angel’s kiss in spring
        My summer wine is really made from all these things

        I walked in town on silver spurs that jingled to
        A song that I had only sang to just a few
        She saw my silver spurs and said lets pass some time
        And I will give to you summer wine
        Ohh-oh-oh summer wine

        Strawberries cherries and an angel’s kiss in spring
        My summer wine is really made from all these things
        Take off your silver spurs and help me pass the time
        And I will give to you summer wine
        Ohhh-oh summer wine

        My eyes grew heavy and my lips they could not speak
        I tried to get up but I couldn’t find my feet
        She reassured me with an unfamiliar line
        And then she gave to me more summer wine
        Ohh-oh-oh summer wine

        Strawberries cherries and an angel’s kiss in spring
        My summer wine is really made from all these things
        Take off your silver spurs and help me pass the time
        And I will give to you summer wine
        Mmm-mm summer wine

        When I woke up the sun was shining in my eyes
        My silver spurs were gone my head felt twice its size
        She took my silver spurs a dollar and a dime
        And left me cravin’ for more summer wine
        Ohh-oh-oh summer wine

        Strawberries cherries and an angel’s kiss in spring
        My summer wine is really made from all these things
        Take off your silver spurs and help me pass the time
        And I will give to you summer wine
        Mmm-mm summer wine

        One could sing any of these lyrics in response to the question why I don’t listen to hiphop. 😐

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You know what – Both these songs (It Was A Very Good Year and Summer Wine) have been featured here recently – Frank’s song because he appeared in my American Odyssey series: New Jersey artists, and Nancy and Lee’s song because it was appropriate for a 1st of August post when all the harvests where starting to come in! Yes, a far cry from hip-hop.

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  8. Indeed a small world. Having just discovered your blog, I haven’t yet read those posts. Am waiting at the gate so got out my iPad Pro with extra real keyboard in the Smart Cover (which your blog software automatically capitalizes) making use of free WIFI to posts some more comments. One lives only once. 🙂

    For something REALLY 1967 (even if recorded later), check out “It was a very good year” by William Shatner. Yes, really. You haven’t even begun to explore psychedelia until you have heard his Transformed Man, which is a mix of Sinatra, The Beatles, and Shakespeare, with Captain Kirk on Sprechgesang.

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  9. I also come back to 1967 every few minutes. 1977 is another very good year. In the papers and the popular mind it was punk in London, Saturday Night Fever, etc, but it was also the year of Jethro Tull’s Songs From the Wood and Rush’s A Farewell to Kings which are two of my favorite albums by my favorite groups (WordPress also converts to US spelling!) which are very different, but both have a pastoral feel to them.

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  10. You know how much I enjoy your ’60s posts! My favourite year is two years before yours – 1965. I’d not heard this track before. In fact, I only have two Love songs: “7 and 7 Is” and “My Little Red Book” (covered nicely by Manfred Mann.) If you haven’t heard them, I’d be happy to assist.

    Thanks for your comment on mine, Alyson. Yes, the player’s working out quite nicely. I’m surprised that Blogger haven’t provided one for their customers. I considered a move to WordPress myself, but found it more difficult for dummies to navigate; plus I could never get the players to work

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    1. Hi Marie – I know we all have our favourite years for music don’t we and I can see why 1965 was a favourite for you.

      Yes, your player works quite well. I like my one too and as long as it is an MP3 file it works on all kinds of devices. As for WordPress, I like it and although it did take me a little while to set up my blog from then on it’s easy. Your one is lovely though and the design is perfect for the kind of music you share.

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    1. Sorry Chris I must have missed this comment when it came in (this has been a busy old post such is the love for Love!).

      Yes, another to add to that very long list you must now have of music to explore when time permits. Probably best just to travel back in your mind as although we think back to those times with rose-coloured spectacles, we conveniently forget the sexism, racism, heavy smoking in restaurants, lack of treatments for illnesses and so on….

      1967 did seem to be an exceptional year for music though – The time was right obviously.

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  11. I had the pleasure of seeing Arthur Lee’s Love (as I think they were billed, so I assume there must have been some legal dispute about who got the name) back in 2004 at an All Tomorrow’s Parties weekend. I knew next to nothing by them, bar “Alone Again Or”, but they were incredible. A highlight of the weekend (and given that Sonic Youth, LCD Soundsystem, Le Tigre, The Shins, Tindersticks and Dizzie Rascal were all on the bill, that’s really saying something, to quote Bananarama and Funboy 3)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ironic that the song we all know is the one not actually written by Arthur Lee! You are yet another person who seems to have been fortunate to watch him live – Amazing that with all that competition his was the standout act.

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