Alvin Lee is dead. He died today, on March 6th, 2013 due to ‘unforeseen complications’ following a routine surgery. What a shame. Just recently I went on Alvin Lee’s website to check out whether by any chance he had a tour planned so I could finally get to see him live. Well, unfortunately, this won’t be possible anymore.
The first time I heard of Alvin Lee was when I saw the Woodstock movie for the first time and I guess that’s true for a lot of fans of my generation. I will always remember him jokingly announcing the tune him and his band Ten Years After was about to perform when he said:”…this is a thing called ‘I’m going home’ by helicopter…”. What followed was one on the best swing blues rock performances I’ve ever seen in my life.
After that, if was pretty clear that to get my hands on more Ten Years After material. “ShhhS”, “Ten Year After” and “Undead” remain to this day among my all-time favorite records. I don’t claim that I know a lot about Alvin Lee and especially his solo projects, however, I know for a fact that he influenced a whole army of well-known guitarists as well as bedroom players such as myself. In a way, his style always reminded me of a healthy mix between Scotty Moore and Big Bill Broonzy.
Anyway, there is no doubt in my mind that Alvin Lee’s legacy will to live on and he will continue to inspire young and seasoned blues rock guitarists. As a matter of fact and as sad as it is, I wouldn’t be surprised if his popularity will now actually increase post mortem. And for those of you who read this article but are not familiar with Alvin Lee and Ten Years After, I urge you to get acquainted with his work. I promise that you won’t be disappointed.
Godspeed, Alvin Lee.