Love was perfectly primed to become an object of cult adoration. They were an interracial band that was smack in the middle of a very fertile California music scene in the 1960s. The quality of their output was very high, and reflected a very important transition in the maturation of the rock scene as a whole. Love’s “classic” line-up didn’t last long. They were a hard-luck band with more than its share of uncommonly punitive arrests and premature deaths. On top of all that, Love did produce the one clear masterpiece, the aforementioned Forever Changes that is today widely regarded to be one of the greatest albums ever recorded.
The documentary Love Story was released just after frontman Arthur Lee’s death from leukemia in 2006. While it is properly adulatory, directors Chris Hall and Mike Kerry largely manage to keep the distorting effect of sadness and grief out of it, presumably because much of the footage was filmed before the deaths of Lee as well as the (unrelated) 1998 deaths of Ken Forssi and Bryan Maclean.
The documentary addresses a curious moment in 2002 when the British Parliament issued a decree declaring Love to be “the world’s greatest rock band.” There’s funny footage of MP Peter Bradley reading it aloud followed by fellow MP Stephen Pound crying out “Arthur Lee!” and worshipfully dropping to his knees.
The final spoken words of the movie come out of Lee’s mouth, lamenting that Love is still not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. More than ten years after his death, they still aren’t.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Love’s iconic ‘Forever Changes’ album art as a duvet cover