|Studio album by Love|
|Recorded||June to September, 1967|
|Studio||Sunset Sound Recorders|
|Producer||Bruce Botnick, Arthur Lee|
Forever Changes is the third album by the American rock band Love. It was released by Elektra Records in November 1967 and would be the final album by the original band, as subsequent albums featured leader Arthur Lee backed by a variety of new players.
Forever Changes failed to achieve commercial success when it was first released in 1967, but it has since become recognized as one of the finest albums to come out of the Summer of Love, ranking 40th on Rolling Stone magazine's 2003 list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, being inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008 as well as being added to the National Recording Registry in May 2012.
In 1966, Love had released two albums in relatively rapid succession, including their second LP Da Capo, which spawned their only Top 40 hit "Seven and Seven Is". However, the group's opportunity for major national success dwindled as a consequence of frontman Arthur Lee's unwillingness to tour, Lee's deteriorating relationship with Love's other songwriter Bryan MacLean, and the overshadowing presence of label-mates the Doors. In a 1992 interview, MacLean spoke of him and Lee "competing a bit like Lennon and McCartney to see who would come up with the better song. It was part of our charm. Everybody had different behaviour patterns. Eventually, the others couldn't cut it". Throughout this period the band – reduced to a quintet with the departures of Alban "Snoopy" Pfisterer and Tjay Cantrelli – were known to retreat to Bela Lugosi's mansion in Hollywood, nicknamed "The Castle", where the group became further stagnated by their use of LSD and heroin.
Rather than base his writings on Los Angeles's burgeoning hippie scene, Lee's material for Forever Changes was drawn from his lifestyle and environment. The songs reflected upon grim but blissful themes and Lee's skepticism with the flower power movement. Writer Andrew Hulktrans explained Lee's frame of mind at the time: "Arthur Lee was one member of the '60s counterculture who didn't buy flower-power wholesale, who intuitively understood that letting the sunshine in wouldn't instantly vaporize the world's (or his own) dark stuff". Love's third studio album also brought about a sense of urgency for Lee. With his band in disarray and growing concerns over his own mortality, Lee envisioned Forever Changes as a lament to his memory.
At this juncture, Elektra Records founder Jac Holtzman suggested to Love to "advance backwards" by embracing the more subtle approach of folk music. While typically independent in his musical directions, Lee accepted Holtzman's proposal, setting the foundational approach to the Forever Changes recording sessions. Having already produced the group's first two albums, Bruce Botnick was enlisted in overseeing the production of the third album along with Lee. Botnick, who had just finished working on Buffalo Springfield's Buffalo Springfield Again, invited Neil Young to co-produce the upcoming Love album, but Young, after initially agreeing, excused himself from the project. As Botnick recalled "Neil really had the burning desire to go solo and realize his dream without being involved in another band". According to the liner notes in the compilation album Love Story, Young was involved in Forever Changes long enough to arrange the track "The Daily Planet." Young, however, has denied such involvement.
The title of the album came from a story that Lee had heard about a friend-of-a-friend who had broken up with his girlfriend. She exclaimed, "You said you would love me forever!," and he replied, "Well, forever changes." Lee also noted that since the name of the band was Love, the full title was actually Love Forever Changes.
Love started recording Forever Changes in June 1967 at Sunset Sound Recorders. However, beginning with the early recording sessions, the band, except Lee, was plagued from internal conflicts and lack of preparation for Lee's intricate arrangements. Through Holtzman's perspective, Botnick was an "album savior", guiding and motivating Lee's bandmates out of their trying period. In order to compel the band to participate, Botnick enlisted top session musicians Billy Strange (guitar), Don Randi (piano), Hal Blaine (drums), and Carol Kaye (bass guitar) to work with Lee, completing "Andmoreagain" and "The Daily Planet" in a single three-hour session. Shocked by the implications of losing their role in the album's development, Botnick's plan succeeded in motivating the Love members in recording the other nine tracks appearing on Forever Changes.
Botnick recalls that the use of session musicians "sparked" the band, and they "realized they had blown it, got their act together and recorded the rest of the album." After much rehearsal, the group returned to the studio in August and continued through September, quickly laying down the remaining nine tracks, at a total estimated cost of $2,257.
Lee spent three weeks with David Angel, the arranger of the strings and horns, playing and singing the orchestral parts to him. Contrary to what has been reported in other accounts, Lee envisioned the horns and strings from the beginning, and they were not added as an afterthought.
A September 18 recording session finished the album, adding the horns and strings, as well as some additional piano from Randi, who played all the keyboard parts on the album as the band now had no keyboard player.
Upon its release in late 1967, Forever Changes was largely unsuccessful commercially. It spent 10 weeks on the Billboard 200 album chart, according to Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Albums, peaking at #154 in 1968, by far the worst showing among Love's first three albums. (According to the same book, Love's next album, Four Sail, fared better on the Billboard 200, peaking at #102 in 1969.) Forever Changes had a much stronger showing in Great Britain, where it reached #24 on the UK album chart in 1968. It peaked at #63 when it re-entered the chart in 2001.
Initial reviews were positive. Pete Johnson of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the album "can survive endless listening with no diminishing either of power or of freshness", while noting "parts of the album are beautiful; others are disturbingly ugly, reflections of the pop movement towards realism." Gene Youngblood of LA Free Express also praised the album, calling it "melancholy iconoclasm and tasteful romanticism."
The Bonzo Dog Band's contemporary track "We Are Normal" contains a section that uses lyrics that are in "The Red Telephone": "We are normal and we want our freedom." However, the line originally came from the play Marat/Sade, so the use of the line is an apparent coincidence.
The 1979 edition of The Rolling Stone Record Guide gave the album a rating of five stars (out of five). It also received five stars in the 1983 edition of the guide and in the fourth edition that was published in 2004.
In a special issue of Mojo magazine, Forever Changes was ranked the second greatest psychedelic album of all time. In the January 1996 issue, Mojo readers selected Forever Changes as #11 of the "100 Greatest Albums Ever Made."
Forever Changes was praised by a group of members of the British Parliament in 2002 as being one of the greatest albums of all time.
Rolling Stone magazine ranked the album 40th in its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time in the December 11, 2003 issue.
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Forever Changes was included in its entirety on the 2-CD retrospective Love compilation Love Story 1966-1972, released by Rhino Records in 1995. The album was re-released in an expanded single-CD version by Rhino in 2001, featuring alternate mixes, outtakes and the group's 1968 single, "Your Mind and We Belong Together"/"Laughing Stock", the final tracks ever to feature the Forever Changes line-up of Arthur Lee, Johnny Echols, Ken Forssi, Michael Stuart and Bryan MacLean (Forssi and MacLean both died in 1998).
The Forever Changes Concert was released on DVD in 2003 to great critical acclaim and marked the first time many of the songs had been performed live. The set features the entire album recorded in its original running order during a tour of England by Lee in early 2003, in which he was backed by the band Baby Lemonade and string and horn ensembles. The DVD features the album concert, five bonus performances, documentary footage and an interview with Lee.
A double-CD "Collector's Edition" of the album was issued by Rhino Records on April 22, 2008. The first disc consists of a remastered version of the original 1967 album. The second disc contains a previously unissued alternate mix of the album.
A Super High Material CD (SHM-CD) version of Forever Changes was released in Japan in 2009.
A 24 Bit 192 kHz High Resolution version of the album was released by HDTracks in 2014.
A hybrid Super Audio CD (SACD) version of the album was released by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab in 2014.
Another 24 Bit 192 kHz High Resolution remaster of the album was released through Pono in 2015, remastered by original engineer Bruce Botnick.
All songs written by Arthur Lee, except where noted.
- Side one
- "Alone Again Or" (Bryan MacLean) – 3:16
- "A House Is Not a Motel" – 3:31
- "Andmoreagain" - 3:18
- "The Daily Planet" – 3:30
- "Old Man" (MacLean) – 3:02
- "The Red Telephone" – 4:46
- Side two
- "Maybe the People Would Be the Times or Between Clark and Hilldale" – 3:34
- "Live and Let Live" – 5:26
- "The Good Humor Man He Sees Everything Like This" – 3:08
- "Bummer in the Summer" – 2:24
- "You Set the Scene" – 6:56
- 2001 CD reissue bonus tracks
- "Hummingbirds" (Instrumental, early demo of "The Good Humor Man He Sees Everything Like This") – 2:43
- "Wonder People (I Do Wonder)" (Outtake) – 3:22
- "Alone Again Or" (Alternate Mix) – 2:55
- "You Set the Scene" (Alternate Mix) – 7:01
- "Your Mind and We Belong Together" (Tracking Session Highlights) – 8:16
- "Your Mind and We Belong Together" (Single A-side, June 1968) – 4:26
- "Laughing Stock" (Single B-side, June 1968) – 2:31
According to the liner notes of the 2008 "Collector's Edition".[full citation needed]
- Arthur Lee: lead vocals, guitar
- Bryan MacLean: rhythm guitar, background vocals (lead vocals on "Old Man" and co-lead vocals on "Alone Again Or")
- Johnny Echols: lead guitar
- Ken Forssi: bass guitar
- Michael Stuart: drums, percussion
- David Angel: arranger, orchestrations
- Strings: Robert Barene, Arnold Belnick, James Getzoff, Marshall Sosson, Darrel Terwilliger (violins); Norman Botnick (viola); Jesse Ehrlich (cello); Chuck Berghofer (string bass)
- Horns: Bud Brisbois, Roy Caton, Ollie Mitchell (trumpets); Richard Leith (trombone)
Additional personnel according to the liner notes of the 2001 release.[full citation needed]
- Carol Kaye: bass guitar on "Andmoreagain" and "The Daily Planet"
- Don Randi: piano on "Andmoreagain" and "The Daily Planet" and "Bummer In The Summer"??
- Billy Strange: guitar on "Andmoreagain" and "The Daily Planet"
- Hal Blaine: drums on "Andmoreagain" and "The Daily Planet"
Additional personnel according to the book Forever Changes – Arthur Lee and the Book of Love.[full citation needed]
- Neil Young: arranger on "The Daily Planet"
Production and design
Sourced from the original 1967 album liner notes.[full citation needed]
- Bruce Botnick and Arthur Lee: Producers
- Bruce Botnick: Engineer
- Jac Holzman: Production Supervisor
- Zal Schreiber: Mastering
- William S. Harvey: Cover Design
- Bob Pepper: Cover Art
- Ronnie Haran: Back Cover Photo
- Andrew Sandoval: Project Producer
- Andrew Sandoval, Dan Hersch, Bill Inglot: Remastering, Disc 1
- Steve Hoffman: Remastering, Disc 2, tracks 1-11
- Dan Hersch and Andrew Sandoval: Remastering, Disc 2, tracks 12-21
- Michael Kachko: Product Manager
- Andrew Sandoval: Liner Notes
- Amanda Smith: Art Supervision
- Vanessa Atkins and Cory Frye: Editorial Supervision
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- McDonough, Jimmy (2002). Shakey: Neil Young's biography. New York: Random House. ISBN 978-0-679-42772-8. OCLC 47844513. p. 160 footnote
- Einarson, John. Forever Changes: Arthur Lee and the Book of Love. A Genuine Jawbone Book. 2010. ISBN 978-1-906002-31-2
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Reni said, 'What's your favourite record ever?' I came out with Love's 'Forever Changes' and they all fell about and said, 'That's our favourite record as well!'