Skip to main content

Passings: Alvin Lee of Ten Years After (1944 - 2013)

Photo cc Jim Summaria
The news came early this afternoon on his official website that Alvin Lee, guitarist for Ten Years After, had died early on Wednesday at the age of 68.
With great sadness, we have to announce that Alvin unexpectedly passed away early this morning after unforeseen complications following a routine surgical procedure.

We have lost a wonderful, much loved father and companion. The world has lost a truly great and gifted musician.

- Jasmine, Evi and Suzanne
Lee's performance of his group's I'm Coming Home was one of the true highlights of the documentary Woodstock.

Alvin first started playing guitar at the age of 13 and he and his friend, Leo Lyons, formed the band that would eventually become Ten Years After in 1960 when he was 16.

In 1962, he joined a group called the Jaybirds who followed the Beatles into a residency at the Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany. Their popularity grew and, in 1966, they moved back to London where, after a series of name changes, would eventually settle on Ten Years After.

The next year, they recorded their self-titled debut album which drew the attention of progressive radio stations on the U.S. west coast along with promoter Bill Graham. The father of the Fillmores brought them to America in 1968 for the first of a record breaking 28 tours over the next seven years.

It was the 1969 Woodstock Festival and the subsequent 1970 documentary that pushed Ten Years After's career over the top. They began playing large venues and, in 1973, scored their biggest hit with I'd Love to Change the World which has become a staple of classic rock radio.

That same year, Lee grew tired of the pop direction that their current label, Columbia, was pushing the band and he went solo. His first effort, On the Road to Freedom, recorded with Myron LeFevre and including guest performances from George Harrison, Mick Fleetwood, Ronnie Wood and Steve Winwood, became a critical favorite. He followed with the double live album In Flight which emphasized his love of early rock and the blues.

Over his career, Lee recorded a total of fourteen solo albums including the 2012 set Still on the Road to Freedom.


Comments