Nottingham-bred guitarist/vocalist Alvin Lee first got involved in music at age 16. In 1960—only three years after he began playing guitar—Lee sowed the seeds of the band that would make him famous, Ten Years After. Alvin Lee began jamming with local bassist and friend Leo Lyons that year, and the two formed their first band, the Jaybirds, two years later. Though the group gained a degree of local popularity, they didn't really pick up steam until they relocated to London and changed their name to Ten Years After in the late-'60s.
The quartet—rounded out by Ric Lee (drums) and Chick Churchill (organ)—released their bluesy, self-titled debut in 1967, which was didn't make much of a commercial dent. Over the next seven years, the group steadily released albums that garnered the group a large fanbase, though they enjoyed only moderate commercial success. Besides their 10 studio albums, Ten Years After toured relentlessly, especially in the United States, winning scores of converts all over the world. Though Alvin Lee left the group in 1974, they often reunited for concerts, which kept the group relevant. In a move that rekindled great fan interest in the original group, the band released Live at the Fillmore East 1970 in 2001.
Aside from Ten Years After, Alvin Lee also enjoyed a successful solo career. In 1973, he teamed up with American gospel vocalist Mylon LeFevre to release the country-rock LP On The Road to Freedom. The star-studded album featured appearances by the likes of Steve Winwood, George Harrison, Mick Fleetwood, and Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones. From there, Lee continued to make records, releasing over 20 during his long, storied career. Alvin Lee continues to make records and play shows to date, though he is nearing his 70th birthday.
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