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Last Updated: Friday, 4 August 2006, 11:38 GMT 12:38 UK
Love singer Arthur Lee dies at 61
Arthur Lee
Arthur Lee died on Thursday with his wife Diane at his side
Arthur Lee, singer and guitarist of the influential 1960s band Love, has died in Memphis at the age of 61 following a battle with acute myeloid leukaemia.

A Memphis native who called himself the "first so-called black hippie", Lee formed Love in Los Angeles in 1965.

The multiracial band recorded three groundbreaking albums that fused rock, blues and psychedelia - the self-titled Love, Da Capo and Forever Changes.

In the 1990s Lee spent time in prison for illegal possession of a firearm.

But the singer made a triumphant comeback in 2002, touring the US and Europe with a new version of his classic band.

Progressive rock

I saw Arthur Lee perform 18 months ago and it was one of the finest live performances I have ever witnessed
Steve Langford, UK

Although the original members of Love were only together for two years, they typified West Coast progressive rock.

The excess and bravura of the period is reflected on Da Capo, one side of which was taken up with a single song.

The album, like its predecessor, was not a commercial success. But Forever Changes, the band's next album, did reach the Top 30 in the UK.

Considered by many as Lee's bold response to the Beatles' Sgt Pepper album, it remains one of the most enduring records of the period and has been named the 40th greatest album of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.

After that highpoint the band lost momentum and went through many changes of line-up. Lee also recorded as a solo artist, with little success.

His eccentric behaviour and fragile mental health drew comparisons to late Pink Floyd founder member Syd Barrett and led to his arrest and six-year incarceration.

But his return to the limelight in recent years drew acclaim and recognition, his live performances of Forever Changes receiving glowing reviews.

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