About a Summer of Love

It was early 1990 when I was settling into a dorm room, when a dorm-mate looking at my music picking up Los Angeles 60s hippie opus Forever Changes by the band called Love.

I asked, “Do you know Love?” My dorm neighbour Randy responds with, “I was raised on Love.” Randy would further explain that both his parents were former hippies turned teachers and that his father had to stop hopping trains when he got married.

Love was “the” Los Angeles band between the breakthrough success of The Byrds electrifying Bob Dylan songs and The Doors. The former was a band coming out of nowhere recommended to the Elektra label by Love founder and label-mate Arthur Lee. Lee would further contribute to The Doors’ legend by his ex-girlfriend and companion to Jim Morrison, Pamela Courson. Jim Morrison would write “Love Street” for The Doors album Waiting for the Sun as a nod to that point of history and the jazzy sound of Love.

Love was never as famous as either The Byrds or The Doors. They were a multi-racial jazz influenced folk combo plugging after The Byrds. Because of the racial tensions of the time, Love only played California and London live. Their London appearances would inspire Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett who claimed ideas from seeing the band live. Robert Plant and drummer John Bonham began together in “A Band called Joy” and as Led Zeppelin they borrowed the idea of the multi-head illustration from the front cover of Forever Changes for the back cover of Led Zeppelin III, the band’s folkiest release.

The classic band line-up produced three albums: Love, Da Capo (featuring the Los Angeles hit “7 and 7 Is”), and the lush jazz infused Forever Changes. That last album was released in November of 1967 after a summer dominated by the Worldwide hit of “Light My Fire” from The Doors. Forever Changes always sounds like sun-dappled leaves and the smell of the rain-washed outdoors from a world of idealized summers before I was even born. It is something I imagine and am better for growing up with it.

Reinhardt lives in Boyle Street with his wife, Keri Breckenridge.

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