Alvin Lee, born Graham Alvin Barnes (December 19, 1944 – March 6, 2013), guitarist and lead vocalist for the English blues-rock band Ten Years After, passed away unexpectedly yesterday from complications following a supposedly routine surgery. He was 68 years old. Ten Years After first formed under that name during November of 1966 in London. Though still performing, the band’s heyday was the late 1960s through the early 1970s. Ten Years After first disbanded in 1974, reformed for a short time in 1983, then reformed once again for good in 1988. Band members beside Lee were Leo Lyons on bass, Chick Churchill on keyboards and Ric Lee on drums. Alvin was replaced by Joe Gooch in 2003.
Ten Years After rose to superstar status after their August 17, 1969 performance at the Woodstock Music & Art Fair, in which Lee gave an incredibly blazingly fast presentation of their song, I’m Going Home which was immortalized in the film and soundtrack from the three-day festival. Their two masterpieces are A Space In Time, released in August of 1971, which contains probably their greatest hit, I’d Love To Change The World, and Rock & Roll Music To The World, which was released in October of 1972. For any rock ‘n’ roller not familiar with the music of Ten Years After, stop everything you are doing and immediately go out to a record store (if one still exists) or go online and buy these two albums. If you can only afford one, start with Rock & Roll Music To The World.
These photographs were shot, I believe sometime during the early 1980s at the Agora / Newport Music Hall in Columbus, Ohio, USA during a Lee solo tour. Judging by the quality of the photographs, the stage lighting obviously wasn’t very good, however they are of an incredible guitarist who once fronted one of rock’s greatest bands.
By the way, that sure is a funny looking cigarette in the headstock of his guitar! It looks like something one would have rolled by hand!
Steven H. Spring