Love singer Arthur Lee has died in Memphis aged 61.
According to his official website Lovewitharthurlee.com, the singer died yesterday (August 3).
Lee passed away at the city’s Methodist University Hospital after battling leukaemia.
His manager Mark Linn said : “Arthur Lee died peacefully at Methodist Hospital in Memphis, a little after four in the afternoon (Aug 3) with his wife Diane by his side. His death comes
as a shock to me because Arthur had the uncanny ability to bounce back from everything, and leukaemia was no exception. He was confident that he would be back on stage by the fall.”
“When I visited with him recently, he was visibly moved by the stories and pictures from the NYC benefit concert. We watched the DVD of the great House Of Blues concert from ’03, and he told me how much he appreciated Baby Lemonade (Lee‘s backing band)’s dedication to his music. He was truly grateful for the outpouring of love from friends and fans all over the world since news of his illness became public.”
“Arthur always lived in the moment, and said what he thought when he thought it. I’ll miss his phone calls, and his long voice messages, but most of all I’ll miss Arthur playing Arthur‘s music.”
Lee, who was born on March 7 1945, formed Love in Los Angeles and recorded three albums with the original line up of the group, mixing symphonic sounds with folk rock.
Their self titled debut and ‘Da Capo’ preceded their third album, 1968’s ‘Forever Changes’, which is considered one of the best ever and at the time was seen as Love‘s response to The Beatles‘ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band’.
Lee called himself “the first black hippie” and Love were the among the first multi-racial rock bands of the 1960s.
When Love dissolved, Lee struggled to find success as a solo artist. In 1995 he was jailed in California for six years for firing a pistol into the air.
After his release from jail in 2001, Lee formed a new version of Love and the band played ’Forever Changes’ in its entirety, at a series of concerts across the world, including a now legendary show at London‘s Royal Festival Hall.
Following the tour in 2002, Lee visited the House Of Commons in London, after British Members Of Parliament voted ‘Forever Changes’ “the greatest album of all time” and Love “the world’s greatest rock band” in a light-hearted Early Day Motion proposed by Labour backbencher Peter Bradley MP.
In 2004 he was honoured again, winning the Living Legend award at that year’s NME Awards.
However in early 2006 Lee was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia .
In May after three bouts of chemotherapy failed, he became the first adult patient in Tennessee to undergo a bone marrow transplant using stem cells from an umbilical cord.
You can also here Lee‘s songs at his myspace page.
Meanwhile leave your own tribute to the singer on the NME Message Boards now.