Arthur Lee, the singer and guitarist for psychedelic rock pioneers Love, has died at the age of 61. Lee died yesterday (Aug. 3) at the Methodist University Hospital in his hometown of Memphis after ba
Arthur Lee, the singer and guitarist for psychedelic rock pioneers Love, has died at the age of 61. Lee died yesterday (Aug. 3) at the Methodist University Hospital in his hometown of Memphis after battling leukemia.
His manager, Mark Linn, told Reuters, "His death comes as a shock to me because Arthur had the uncanny ability to bounce back from everything, and leukemia was no exception. He was confident that he would be back on stage by the fall."
Lee formed Love in Los Angeles in 1965 and recorded three albums with the group's original lineup, including 1968's psychedelic classic "Forever Changes," frequently voted one of the greatest albums of all time.
But the group disbanded soon after "Forever Changes" and Lee struggled to find success as a solo artist. He formed several subsequent lineups of Love over the years but never quite recaptured the magic of his early recordings, when the band was the leading light of a Los Angeles scene that included the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and the Doors.
However, Love's early material proved perennially influential, with acts from Led Zeppelin to Echo and the Bunnymen citing Lee as an inspiration.
Famously unpredictable off stage, Lee served six years in a California jail for firing a pistol into the air in 1995. On his release, he put together a new version of Love and toured extensively, often playing "Forever Changes" from start to finish.
Lee was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia earlier this year and underwent bone marrow transplant surgery in May. Several benefit concerts had been held to help him with his medical bills, with former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant headlining the latest at New York's Beacon Theater in June.
Lee is survived by his wife, Diane.