Alvin Lee was one of the world’s hottest blues and rock guitarists and singers. He developed his appealing style with Ten Years After but there are many examples of him experimenting with different moods and genres during his years with the Alvin Lee Band and Ten Years Later.
Over a 20 year period he rocked out on such albums as ‘In Flight’ (1974), ‘Pump Iron!’ (1975) and many more including ‘Keep On Rockin’ (1994) and ‘In Tennessee’ (2004). A new ‘Best Of Alvin Lee’ album delves into the treasure chest of recordings he had made during those peak years.
Alvin Lee was born in Nottingham, England (December 19, 1944) and came from a musical family. While still at school, learned to play guitar. His first gig was with the Jail Breakers, aged 13. Alvin: “I found the guitar easy to play because I had played the clarinet for a year.”
After the Jail Breakers came the Jay Cats with singer Ivan Jay. In 1965, after Ivan left, they became a three piece called the Jaybirds with Leo Lyons on bass. Ric Lee (drums) and Chick Churchill (organ) were added when the Jaybirds became Ten Years After, releasing a debut album on Decca in 1967. By 1968 they had become one of the UK’s most popular bands. Signed to Chrysalis they created a sensation in America, especially at the Woodstock Festival in 1969 with a rousing version of ‘I’m Goin’ Home’.
A solo career beckoned and Alvin cut ‘On The Road To Freedom’ (1973) with American singer Mylon LeFevre. He then formed Alvin Lee & Co. and recorded ‘In Flight’ ‘live’ at the Rainbow Theatre, London. Alvin built Space Studios at Hook End Manor, invite friends along to play including George Harrison. Alvin continues to perform at festivals and releases such albums as ‘Alvin Lee In Tennessee’ (2004) and ‘Saguitar’ (2007).