She Comes in Colors

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"She Comes in Colors"
Single by Love
from the album Da Capo
B-side "Orange Skies"
Released December 1966
Format 7" 45 RPM
Recorded 1966
RCA Studios
Genre Psychedelic rock, folk rock,[1] baroque pop[2]
Length 2:43
Label Elektra
Writer(s) Arthur Lee
Producer(s) Paul A. Rothchild
Love singles chronology
"7 and 7 Is"
(1966)
"She Comes in Colors"
(1966)
"¡Que Vida!"
(1967)

"She Comes in Colors" is a song written by Arthur Lee and released by Love as a single in 1966 and on their 1967 album Da Capo. It was also included on a number of Love compilation albums, including Love Revisted and Best of Love and on the multi-artist compilation album Forever Changing: The Golden Age of Elektra 1963-1973.

Although modern critics have praised the song as being "sublime," or a "timeless jewel" or as possibly the best song Lee ever wrote, at the time of its release as a single it failed to make the Billboard Hot 100. Lee as well as some music critics believe that "She Comes in Colors" was a source for The Rolling Stones' song "She's a Rainbow," and several music critics and record company executives also believe that it influenced Madonna's "Beautiful Stranger," although Madonna has denied this. The song was also covered by several artists, including The Hooters.

Writing and recording[edit]

Inspiration for "She Comes in Colors" came from the clothing worn by Love fan Annette Ferrell, who was also a friend of Arthur Lee.[3] Love guitarist Johnny Echols recalls that the song "was about this girl named Annette who would come to all our shows wearing these outrageous gypsy clothes."[3] The lyrics include a line about being in "England town," although Lee had never been to England when he wrote the song.[3] The guitar riff was influenced by folk rock.[1] Instrumentation of Love's recording of the song includes harpsichord played by Alban "Snoopy" Pfisterer and flute played by Tjay Cantrelli.[2] Echols remembers "She Comes in Colors" to be the most difficult song on Da Capo to record, because it incorporated a lot of "strange chords."[3]

Reception[edit]

The single release of "She Comes in Colors" received heavy airplay in several localities, including Los Angeles, but failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100.[3]

Allmusic critic Richie Unterberger described "She Comes in Colors" as "enchanting," and "beautiful Baroque pop with dream-like images," suggesting that it might be the best song Lee ever wrote, and that it is Lee's "most melodic and graceful song."[2][4][5] Gavin Edwards of Rolling Stone Magazine described the song as "wistful pop."[6] Author Martin Charles Strong called it one of the "timeless jewels" on Da Capo.[7] Paul Evans called the song "strange and lovely" in The New Rolling Stone Album Guide.[8] Author Barney Hoskyns considers it one of Da Capo's "six sublime songs that blend psychedelia and punk rock with Latin and Broadway influences," and that it "employed Latin rhythms and cool jazz shadings to fashion a kind of spaced-out MOR."[9][10] Author Bob Cianci praised Michael Stuart-Ware's drumming on the song.[11]

After its original release as a single and on Da Capo, "She Comes in Colors" was also included on a number of Love compilation albums, including Love Revisted and Best of Love and on the multi-artist compilation album Forever Changing: The Golden Age of Elektra 1963-1973.[12]

Influence[edit]

A number of critics, including Unterberger, have suggested that "She Comes in Colors" was a source for the Rolling Stones 1967 song "She's a Rainbow," which incorporates the line "she comes in colors everywhere."[3][4][13][14] Lee himself agrees that "She Comes in Color influenced "She's a Rainbow," believing that the Rolling Stones heard the song when Love played at the Whisky a Go Go.[2][3] According to Da Capo engineer Bruce Botnick, Lee was bothered by the line he believed the Rolling Stones had stolen.[3]

Others, such as USA Today's Ken Barnes, have suggested that the chorus, riff, instrumentation and structure of Madonna's song "Beautiful Stranger," from the soundtrack of Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, were based on "She Comes in Colors."[15][16][17][18] Rhino Records executive Gary Stewart has stated that "Certainly, the riff and instrumentation [of Beautiful Stranger] are reminiscent of 'She Comes in Colors,'" and that the "da da da da da" chorus on "Beautiful Stranger" seems to be based upon "an instrumental flourish that's an integral part of the [Love] record. It may be a conscious or an unconscious homage."[15] Madonna, however, has denied any such influence, claiming that she never heard of Love.[15]

The Hooters covered "She Comes in Colors" on their 1985 album Nervous Night.[19] The Age critic Paul Speelman noted that the keyboard playing on the Hooters' version of the song "will take many listeners back to The Doors."[20] Ted Shaw of The Windsor Star claimed that it "could be a dark horse hit."[21] Stereo Review magazine called it "a surprisingly effective cover of an old Arthur Lee/ Love number."[22] The Pale Fountains also covered "She Comes in Colors."[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Unterberger, R. (2003). Eight Miles High: Folk-Rock's Flight from Haight-Ashbury to Woodstock. Hal Leonard. p. 50. ISBN 9780879307431. 
  2. ^ a b c d Unterberger, R. (1998). Unknown Legends of Rock 'n' Roll. Hal Leonard. p. 139. ISBN 9780879305345. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Einarson, J. (2010). Forever Changes: Arthur Lee and the Book of Love. Jawbone Press. pp. 142–147. ISBN 9781906002312. 
  4. ^ a b Unterberger, R.. "Da Capo". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  5. ^ Unterberger, R.. "Love". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  6. ^ Edwards, G. (March 25, 2003). "Love: The Best of Love". Rolling Stone Magazine. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  7. ^ Strong, C.M. (2003). The Great Indie Discography (2nd ed.). Caonongate. ISBN 9781841953359. 
  8. ^ Evans, P. (2004). Brackett, N. & Hoard, C., ed. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon and Schuster. p. 496. ISBN 9780743201698. 
  9. ^ a b Hoskyns, B. (2003). Arthur Lee: Alone Again Or. Canongate. pp. 52, 120. ISBN 9781841953151. 
  10. ^ Hoskyns, B. (2009). Waiting for the Sun: A Rock 'n' Roll History of Los Angeles. Hal Leonard. p. 123. ISBN 9780879309435. 
  11. ^ Cianci, B. (2006). Great Rock Drummers of the Sixies. Hal Leonard. p. 135. ISBN 9780634099250. 
  12. ^ "She Comes in Colors". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  13. ^ Pierce, T. (August 4, 2006). "R.I.P. Arthur Lee - thanks for all the Love". LAist. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  14. ^ Meltzer, R. (1970). The Aesthetics Of Rock. Da Capo Press. pp. 180–181. ISBN 9780306802874. 
  15. ^ a b c Sinclair, T. (June 18, 1999). "Hear And Now: June 18, 1999". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  16. ^ Barnes, K. (August 6, 2006). "Arthur Lee, the legend rock almost forgot". USA Today. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  17. ^ Ulaby, N. "Madonna: Songs We Love". NPR. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  18. ^ Miliari, P. (October 20, 2009). "Madonna: Celebration". Ondarock. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  19. ^ Hopkin, K. "Nervous Night". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  20. ^ Speelman, P. (August 15, 1985). "Grand Sounds in Hooters' Debut". The Age. p. 40. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  21. ^ Shaw, T. (August 30, 1985). "Nervous Night: The Hooters". The Windsor Star. p. 60. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  22. ^ Stereo Review, Volume 50. CBS Magazines. 1985. 

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