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I have 982 albums on my iPod, but by far the most played is Love’s 1968 psychedelic classic Forever Changes. Today it was announced that Love’s singer/songwriter Arthur Lee died after a battle with leukemia. He was 61 years old.

From the Rolling Stone obituary:

Though never a great commercial success — the band made the Top Forty just once, with the tough 1966 single “7 and 7 Is” — Love was at the very center of the fertile Sunset Strip scene of the mid-Sixties. The group’s ambitious third album, 1968′s Forever Changes, still a critical favorite, stands among that era’s seminal records. Lee was Love’s driving force, hiring and firing collaborators at will and pushing them to explore their various musical inclinations. Love’s first four albums ranged wildly, from prototypical garage-punk and jazzy experimentation to Spanish guitar, Broadway-style melodicism and deceptively “easy” listening. In later years, as he struggled with mental and physical issues and his own missed opportunities, Lee often complained about getting less than his due. “Without me there’d be no Jimi Hendrix, no Sly Stone,” he once said. “I was the first so-called black hippie.”

If you’re not familiar with Love’s music, you owe it to yourself to check them out. It’s weird, unconventional, and all over the map stylistically… and it may not even appeal to you upon first listen. But open you mind, and it will grow on you.

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