Arthur (Wiki bio) came home to the place of his birth, the great music town of Memphis, Tennessee, for his final months and passed away recently despite all the treatments our world-class medical center provided him.
Here's the best national obit I've found so far, the Washington Post's.
I've collected some representative videos of this self-described "first black hippie" doing some of the most lyrical and magical music of the Sixties. First up is my favorite early recording, "Seven & Seven Is," which I think of as "Ooop Bip Bip."
Next, perhaps Love's masterpiece, the sweet, lyrical, ultra-human "Alone Again Or," performed live with full string and Mexicali horn sections. Unlike the first time I linked to a video of this performance, this video has a modern live version of "A House Is Not A Motel" tacked on to it. I don't mind, and you won't either. Get high, listen up, and enjoy paradise on earth for a few minutes. This is real hippie music; and that's how it used to work.
Finally, a bonus video: "A House Is Not A Motel" live. Shows how well Arthur could do in the 21st century. I like the original guitar intro better and the original lyrics; but the outro is part and parcel of the excellence of the recorded version and shows what fine musicians Arthur could put around himself whenever he wanted to do it.
Arthur, I never got to know you, but I did think of you from time to time and in fact talked to Neil about getting you a gig at his music room last year. Had I known you had moved back to town, I would have tried to find you; and I would have pursued that gig for you, man. Thanks for the great music anyway....
UPDATE: Slate's music critic Jody Rosen weighed in with a good remembrance.
UPDATE: Arthur's regular obituary finally appeared in the Memphis Commercial Appeal on August 9, 2006, a day after his memorial service, which must have been for just family and friends personally made aware.
ARTHUR LEE, 61, of Memphis, musician, died August 3, 2006 at Methodist University Hospital. A Memorial service was held on Tuesday, August 8, at N.H. Owens & Son Funeral Home. Burial in Forrest Lawn-Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles, CA. He leaves his wife, Diane Skorman Lee and many cousins and friends.You can view his guest book, which was open for signing through September 9, 2006.
UPDATE: The Memphis Flyer has an informative cover story on Arthur, with coverage of his last days and his local funeral.
UPDATE: I tracked a link to here back to a valuable and interesting reminiscence, "Requiem for a Heavyweight," by Stuart Goldman, a music critic and screenwriter who knew Arthur well.