Wednesday, January 31, 2018

50 years ago this month: Love “Alone Again Or” released

Alone Again Or


Writer(s): Bryan MacLean (see lyrics here)

Released: January 1968

First Charted: May 4, 1968

Peak: 99 US, 96 HR, 5 CL, 3 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 2.5 video, 47.55 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The band Love formed in 1965 in Los Angeles. Fronted by Arthur Lee, the band incorporated garage, folk-rock, and psychedelia into their sound. They had a top-40 hit in 1966 with “7 and 7 Is” but are best remembered for “Alone Again Or,” from their third album, 1967’s Forever Changes. The album ranks as the #3 psychedelic rock album and #11 folk album of all time, according to Dave’s Music Database lists.

“Alone Again Or’ was the sole single and signature song from the album. It was written by the band’s rhythm guitarist, Bryan MacLean, about waiting for a girlfriend. WK The song is also said to be a tribute to MacLean’s mother, a flamenco dancer. DT The melody drew loosely on Sergei Prokofiev’s Lieutenant Kije Suite. The song, written in 1965, was intended for the group’s debut album, but MacLean hadn’t completed the song yet. WK

MacLean has said that the orchestral arrangement of the song “was the happiest I ever was with anything we ever did as a band.” WK All Music Guide’s Stewart Mason calls the song “lushly beautiful but also achingly sad, thanks both to MacLean’s distressed lost-love lyrics and Lee’s high-register vocals.” AMG The voice sounds “off-kilter…due to the fact…that Lee’s vocals were originally meant to be simply a high harmony to MacLean’s gruffer lead.” AMG However, co-producer Bruce Botnick said MacLean’s vocals weren’t strong enough alone and he pushed Lee’s vocals up in the mix. WK

The song has been covered by Sarah Brightman, the Boo Radleys, Calexico, the Damned, Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs, and UFO. The 1987 version by the Damned reached #27 on the UK charts and #50 on the Billboard album rock tracks chart.


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First posted 3/11/2023; last updated 4/1/2023.

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