Seventies guitar hero Alvin Lee of Ten Years After fame dies at 68


It’s a sad day for fans of British blues-rock, as guitar hero Alvin Lee–best known for his work with Ten Years After–has died.

The following message was posted on his website today:

With great sadness we have to announce that Alvin unexpectedly passed away early this morning after unforseen 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.

Jasmin, Evi and Suzanne

Although Ten Years After released its self-titled debut album in ’67, it wasn’t until the seventies that the group really caught on worldwide with albums like 1971’s A Space in Time (with included its biggest hit, “I’d Love to Change the World”) and 1972’s Rock & Roll Music to the World (which boasted the rollicking boogie number “Choo Choo Mama”).

The band’s 1973 double album, Recorded Live, was one of those must-have discs for rock-crazed kids that year. It boasted bluesy Lee-penned tracks like the opener “One Of These Days” and a searing cover of Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl”.

But the song I’ll always remember most off Recorded Live is the 9 1/2-minute original, “I’m Going Home”. That’s the one that really showed off Lee’s amazing speed and dexterity.

I was fortunate enough to have seen Alvin Lee in concert in Vancouver once, I think it was in the late ’80s or early ’90s. When I get home tonight I’ll dig around and see if I can find that review.

In the meantime, here’s a mellow, contemplative tune I really like from 1989’s About Time, the final Ten Years After album Lee played on. The lyrics seem pretty apt:

Oh, outside my window there’s a light shinin’ bright, and it keeps on callin’ me into the night. Outside my window, somethin’ callin’ me, yeah. Outside my window, someone waits for me, yeah, yeah.

 R.I.P. Mr. Lee

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