¡Que Vida!

"¡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.

"¡Que Vida!"
Que Vida cover.jpg
US issue
Single by Love
from the album Da Capo
B-side"Hey Joe"
ReleasedMarch 1967 (1967-03)
Recorded1966 at RCA Studios
Songwriter(s)Arthur Lee
Producer(s)Paul A. Rothchild
Love singles chronology
"She Comes in Colors"
"¡Que Vida!"
"Alone Again Or"

The song's title is Spanish for "What a Life", though the working title for the song was "With Pictures and Words".[1] The lyrics, involving topics such as death and reincarnation, suggest to Hoskyns "bad-trip paranoia" and to Greenwald "a psychedelic state of mind".[2][3] Music critic Richie Unterberger claims that in the song "Lee's Johnny Mathis inclinations start to flower in a series of question and answer lyrics."[4] The melody is based on the 1965 song "Lifetime of Loneliness" by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.[1][5][6] It employs a bossa nova rhythm, described by author Bob Cianci as a "lilting Latin rhythm."[2][7] It also incorporates sound effects such as sleigh bells, merry-go-round music and a popping champagne cork.[1][8] Arthur Lee biographer John Einerson describes Lee's vocal tone on the song as "mellow".[1] As described by author Barney Hoskyns, the song uses "Latin rhythms and cool jazz shadings to fashion a kind of spaced-out MOR."[3] Music critic Fredrik Eriksen feels the song sounds like a mixture of The Rolling Stones and Jefferson Airplane.[9]

Allmusic critic Matthew Greenwald regard "¡Que Vida!" as a "true groundbreaking composition for Arthur Lee" in the way the allows the song to flow freely in the direction it wants to go.[2] Greenwald also notes that although the chords always resolve, they go in surprising directions.[2] Edna Gundersen and Ken Burns of USA Today described the song as "summery jazz-pop".[10] Sean Elder of Salon calls the song "whimsical" and notes that it "almost seems like a parody of a hippie song, punctuated with what sounds like a pop gun."[11]


  1. ^ a b c d Einarson, J. (2010). Forever Changes: Arthur Lee and the Book of Love. Jawbone Press. p. 142. ISBN 9781906002312.
  2. ^ a b c d Greenwald, M. "¡Que Vida!". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-07-09. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b Hoskyns, B. (2009). Waiting for the Sun: A Rock 'n' Roll History of Los Angeles. Hal Leonard. p. 123. ISBN 9780879309435.
  4. ^ Unterberger, R. (1998). Unknown Legends of Rock 'n' Roll. Hal Leonard. p. 139. ISBN 9780879305345.
  5. ^ Greenwald, M. "Lifetime of Loneliness". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-07-09. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Kent, N. (January 27, 1999). "Bryan McLean (Love) – Le malaimé". Les In Rocks. Retrieved 2012-07-09. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Cianci, B. (2006). Great Rock Drummers of the Sixies. Hal Leonard. p. 135. ISBN 9780634099250.
  8. ^ "Crawdaddy, Volumes 10-23". Crawdaddy. 10–23. Crawdaddy Publishing Company. 1967.
  9. ^ Eriksen, F. (April 14, 2003). "The Best of Love". groove.no. Retrieved July 9, 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ Gundersen, E. & Barnes, K. (July 18, 2007). "20 albums that defined an era". USA Today. p. D5.
  11. ^ Elder, S. (May 22, 1999). "Love's Labors Lost". Salon. Retrieved 2012-07-09. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)