Alone Again Or

Last updated
"Alone Again Or"
Alone Again Or cover.jpg
Single by Love
from the album Forever Changes
B-side "A House Is Not a Motel"
ReleasedJanuary 1968 (1968-01)
RecordedSeptember 10, 1967
Genre Psychedelic folk [1]
Label Elektra
Songwriter(s) Bryan MacLean
Love singles chronology
"¡Que Vida!"
"Alone Again Or"
"Your Mind and We Belong Together"

"Alone Again Or" is a song originally recorded in 1967 by the rock group Love and written by band member Bryan MacLean. It appears on the album Forever Changes , and was released as a single in the USA, UK, Australia, France and the Netherlands. [2]


Versions have subsequently been recorded by an eclectic variety of bands and singers including UFO (1977), the Damned (1986), Sarah Brightman (1990), The Boo Radleys (1991), the Oblivians (1993), Chris Pérez Band (1999), Calexico (2004), Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs (2006), Les Fradkin (2007) and Sara Lov (2014). Two demo versions by MacLean himself were released in 1997 on his album Ifyoubelievein .

Original version

MacLean originally wrote the song, then called "Alone Again", in 1965 for Love's debut album. However, he did not complete it until the recording of "Forever Changes" in the summer of 1967. The song was inspired by his memory of waiting for a girlfriend, and, according to Barney Hoskyns, the melody drew loosely on Sergei Prokofiev's Lieutenant Kije Suite . [3] The essence of the song is the contrast between the positivity of the tune and the bleakness of the lyrics, with the chorus "And I will be alone again tonight, my dear" finishing with a lone acoustic guitar, closing the song with the opening melody that sounds anything but ecstatic, [4] ending with an E minor plus 2 chord.

For the recording session, which took place on September 10, 1967 at Sunset Sound Recorders in Hollywood, arranger David Angel worked with MacLean, adding a string section and a horn part for a mariachi band whom co-producer Bruce Botnick had recently used on a Tijuana Brass album. MacLean later said, "That was the happiest I ever was with anything we ever did as a band - the orchestral arrangement of that song". [3] However, Botnick, with co-producer and band leader Arthur Lee, remixed the track to bring Lee's own unison vocal to the forefront of the song, at least partly on the grounds that MacLean's own vocal lead was too weak. [3] Lee also added to the mystery of the song by changing the title to "Alone Again Or".

With Lee now on co-lead vocals, "Alone Again Or" became the opening track of Forever Changes. It was the sole single released from the album to reach the Billboard singles chart. Its 1968 B-side was Lee's "A House Is Not a Motel", although the 1970 reissue of the single featured "Good Times" from the 1969 Four Sail album instead. [5] "Alone Again Or", in an edited version in early 1968, initially peaked nationally at No. 123 (and at No. 7 on both Los Angeles station KHJ-AM and San Diego station KGB-AM), while the longer, original album version spent three weeks on the singles chart in 1970, peaking at No. 99, according to Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles: 1955–2010.

MacLean's composition (as well as the recording itself) has come to be considered a classic. In 2004, "Alone Again Or" came in at No. 436 in the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs of All Time poll. [6] In the magazine's 2010 version, the song ranked at No. 442. [7]

The song has been featured in several films, most notably the 1996 films Bottle Rocket and Sleepers . It appeared at the close of the 2009 British comedy movie Bunny and the Bull , playing as the lead character finally breaks free of his obsessions. Alone Again Or was also featured in the climactic parade scene ending the last episode of season one of the 2019 Netflix series Russian Doll .

The Damned version

"Alone Again Or"
Damned AloneAgainOr.jpg
Single by the Damned
from the album Anything
B-side "In Dulce Decorum (Live)"
Released6 April 1987
Studio Hammersmith, Denmark
Genre Psychedelic rock, gothic rock
Label MCA
Songwriter(s) Bryan MacLean
Producer(s) Jon Kelly
The Damned singles chronology
"Alone Again Or"
"In Dulce Decorum"

"Alone Again Or" was released as a single by the Damned on 6 April 1987 by MCA. They recorded it as an acknowledgement of Love being one of their influences. Boosted by multi-format releases (including the band's first CD single, which included the first release of their version of "Eloise" on this format) and a surreal video helmed by Gerard de Thame, the single peaked at No. 27 in the UK – the Damned's final Top 40 hit to date. The UK B-side "In Dulce Decorum" was recorded live at the Hammersmith Odeon on 12 November 1986.

MCA also issued the single in the United States, their first single to be issued in the territory since "Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde" in 1981. This release added the studio version of "In Dulce Decorum" in place of the live version on the UK release.

Related Research Articles

<i>Forever Changes</i> 1967 studio album by Love

Forever Changes is the third studio album by the American rock band Love, released by Elektra Records in November 1967. It was the final album recorded by the original band lineup; after its completion, Bryan Maclean left the group acrimoniously and the other members were dismissed by leader Arthur Lee. The album saw the group embrace a subtler folk-oriented sound and orchestration, while primary songwriter Lee explored darker themes alluding to mortality and his creeping disillusionment with the 1960s counterculture.

The Damned (band) English punk band

The Damned are an English rock band formed in London, England, in 1976 by lead vocalist Dave Vanian, guitarist Brian James, bassist Captain Sensible, and drummer Rat Scabies. They were the first punk rock band from the United Kingdom to release a single, "New Rose" (1976), release an album, Damned Damned Damned (1977), and tour the United States. They have nine singles that charted on the UK Singles Chart Top 40.

Love (band) American rock group

Love was an American psychedelic and folk-rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1965. Led by Arthur Lee, Love was one of the first racially diverse American rock bands. Their style drew from an eclectic range of sources including hard rock, blues, jazz, flamenco, and orchestral pop.

<i>Strange Days</i> (The Doors album) 1967 studio album by the Doors

Strange Days is the second studio album by the American rock band the Doors, released on September 25, 1967, by Elektra Records. The album reached number three on the US Billboard 200, and eventually earned RIAA platinum certification. It contains the Top 30 hit singles "People Are Strange" and "Love Me Two Times".

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down 1969 single by The Band

"The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" is a song written by Robbie Robertson and originally recorded by the Canadian-American roots rock group The Band in 1969 and released on their eponymous second album. Levon Helm provided the lead vocals. The song is a first-person narrative relating the economic and social distress experienced by the protagonist, a poor white Southerner, during the last year of the American Civil War, when George Stoneman was raiding southwest Virginia. The song appeared at number 245 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

Arthur Lee (musician) American musician (1945–2006)

Arthur Taylor Lee was an American singer-songwriter who rose to fame as the leader of the Los Angeles rock band Love. Love's 1967 album Forever Changes was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, and it is part of the National Recording Registry.

<i>Anything</i> (The Damned album) 1986 studio album by The Damned

Anything is the seventh studio album by the Damned, released by MCA Records in 1986. On the album's release, it charted in the United Kingdom, peaking at No. 40, and was certified as silver by the British Phonographic Industry. Four singles were released that all charted in the UK.

Hey Joe Song written and composed by Billy Roberts

"Hey Joe" is an American song from the 1960s that has become a rock standard and has been performed in many musical styles by hundreds of different artists. The lyrics tell of a man who is on the run and planning to head to Mexico after shooting his unfaithful wife. In 1962, Billy Roberts registered "Hey Joe" for copyright in the United States.

<i>Da Capo</i> (Love album) 1966 studio album by Love

Da Capo is the second studio album by the American psychedelic rock band Love, released in November 1966.

In Dulce Decorum 1987 single by The Damned

"In Dulce Decorum" was a single by the Damned, released 16 November 1987 on the MCA label.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel is a double compilation album by the Damned, released by MCA in 1987 as a retrospective collection. The same name was also given to a concurrently released video cassette and an approved band biography by Carol Clerk.

Bryan MacLean

Bryan Andrew MacLean was an American singer, guitarist and songwriter, best known for his work with the influential rock band Love. His famous compositions for Love include "Alone Again Or," "Old Man," and "Orange Skies."

Who Wants to Live Forever 1986 song by Queen

"Who Wants to Live Forever" is a song by the British rock band Queen. A power ballad, it is the sixth track on the album A Kind of Magic, which was released in June 1986, and was written by lead guitarist Brian May for the soundtrack to the film Highlander. Queen was backed up by an orchestra, with orchestrations by the co-composer of the film's score, Michael Kamen. The song peaked at No. 24 in the UK charts. In 1991 it was included in the band’s second compilation album Greatest Hits II.

7 and 7 Is 1966 single by Love

"7 and 7 Is" is a song written by Arthur Lee and recorded by his band Love on June 17 & 20, 1966, at Sunset Sound Recorders in Hollywood. It was produced by Jac Holzman and engineered by Bruce Botnick.

Country Road (song) 1971 single by James Taylor

"Country Road" is a song written and performed by James Taylor. It appears on his 1970 second album, Sweet Baby James. "Country Road" is also featured on James Taylor's 1976 Greatest Hits record. The song has been played at most of his concerts since 1970. Randy Meisner, later of The Eagles played bass on the album version.

Orange Skies 1966 single by Love

"Orange Skies" is a song written by Bryan MacLean and originally recorded in 1966 by the band Love for their second album Da Capo. It was first released in December 1966 as the B-side to the band's single "She Comes in Colors". The original recording features band leader Arthur Lee on lead vocals instead of MacLean.

She Comes in Colors 1966 single by Love

"She Comes in Colors" is a song written by Arthur Lee and released by Love as a single in 1966 and on their 1966 album Da Capo. It was also included on a number of Love compilation albums, including Love Revisited and Best of Love and on the multi-artist compilation album Forever Changing: The Golden Age of Elektra 1963–1973.

¡Que Vida! 1967 single by Love

"¡Que Vida!" is a song written by Arthur Lee and first released in 1967 by the band Love. It was released both on Love's album Da Capo and as a single, backed with "Hey Joe". It has also been included on several Love compilation albums.

Stephanie Knows Who 1967 single by Love

"Stephanie Knows Who" is a song written by Arthur Lee and first released by Love on their 1966 album Da Capo. It has also been released on several Love compilation albums. It was to have been released as a single, backed with "Orange Skies", but the single was withdrawn, with "She Comes in Colors" replacing it under the same catalog number. The song was also covered by The Move.

Time to Kill (song) 1970 single by The Band

"Time to Kill" is a song written by Robbie Robertson that was first released by the Band on their 1970 album Stage Fright. It was also released as a single off the album, backed with the more famous "The Shape I'm In" and, although it failed to reach the Top 40 in the United States, it peaked at #13 in the Netherlands. It has also been featured on several Band compilation and live albums.


  1. Barker, Emily (31 January 2014). "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time - 200-101". NME . Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  2. "Love Singles". 4 March 2002. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  3. 1 2 3 Barney Hoskyns, Arthur Lee: Alone Again Or, 2001, ISBN   1-84195-085-5
  4. "Alone Again Or". 3 July 2002. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  5. Billboard. 15 August 1970. p. 78. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  6. "The Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rock List Music. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  7. "500 Greatest Songs of All Time: 442. 'Alone Again Or'". Rolling Stone . Wenner Publishing. Retrieved 15 April 2018.