Arthur Lee

Happy Birthday

Arthur Porter Taylor
March 7, 1945
Memphis, Tennessee

Arthur Taylor Lee (born Arthur Porter Taylor; March 7, 1945 – August 3, 2006) was an American singer-songwriter who rose to fame as the frontman of the Los Angeles rock band Love.

Lee was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on March 7, 1945 in John Gaston Hospital, to Agnes and Chitlin Taylor, a local jazz musician and cornet player. As an only child, Lee was known by the nickname "Po", short for Porter. Lee loved music and he would sing and hum along to blues musicians such as Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters on the radio. At the age of four, Lee made his debut on the stage at a Baptist church, reciting a small poem about a red telephone.

Lee attended Sixth Avenue Elementary School and excelled in athletics but was behind academically. Being known as "the toughest kid in the neighborhood", Lee was pressured into succeeding in school by his great aunt, a former school principal, but showed interest in sports, music, reading, and animals.  Lee later attended Mount Vernon Junior High, where his interest in music would soon outweigh his focus on sports.

Lee's first instrument was the accordion and he was a huge Lawrence Welk fan and Liberace fan. He eventually picked his stage name because Lawrence Welk's middle name was Arthur and Liberace's nickname was Lee. Hence Arthur Lee. 

Arthur had many bands in the early 1960's and his song "My Diary" was a mild success. The song features Jimi Hendrix. Lee stated that he was looking for a guitarist with a Curtis Mayfield-like feel, and Hendrix was recommended for the session by label owner Billy Revis. Lee and Hendrix would become friends and record together in the future. 
Lee said when he first heard The Byrds he felt vindicated since he'd already been writing music that had a similar folk rock sound. In 1965 the Grass Roots, his folk rock unit, changed their name to Love because there was already a signed act called The Grass Roots. Other names considered were "The Originals", "The New Originals" and "Hate". 

Manson Family member Bobby Beausoleil was a member of Love. Beausoleil was convicted for the July 27, 1969 murder of his friend Gary Hinman, a music teacher and PhD student at UCLA, who was also an associate of Charles Manson and members of his communal "Manson family".

Love's music has been described as a mixture of folk-rock, psychedelic rock, baroque pop, Spanish-tinged pop, R&B, garage rock, and even protopunk. Though Lee's vocals have garnered some comparisons to Johnny Mathis, his lyrics often dwell on matters dark and vexing, but often with a wry humor. 

Love released three albums with it's core members. "Love", "Da Capo" and "Forever Changes". "Forever Changes' is considered by many to be the greatest album ever recorded. It is #40 in the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums List. Love was a Southern California sensation during the mid 1960's and their shows audience was often dotted with celebrities, including actor Sal Mineo, and rock stars Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Bob Dylan, and Jimi Hendrix. Love dissolved due to Drug and Money issues.  

Love is one of the most underrated bands of all time. Arthur Lee never received the commercial success he deserved. Lee spent time in prison and eventually died from cancer, August 3, 2006 at the age of 61. 

The world is a better place thanks to Arthur Lee's musical contributions.

Remembering Arthur Lee on his birthday. Thank You for the music Sir!

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