News came in yesterday (March 6, 2013) that Alvin Lee, the guitarist in Ten Years After, had died at the age of 68. He had been undergoing an operation in Spain, where he lived, for atrial arrhythmia but died from unforeseen complications, according to a press release from his publicist. Tributes to the late rock guitarist were led by Brian May, of Queen, who wrote on his website “(Lee was) a legendary and influential guitarist and very nice bloke. His speed and dexterity, in the days when I would go as a student to the Marquee Club to see Ten Years After, was scary and exciting. He was daring enough to play and sing close to his limit every time.”

Another musician, Roger Chapman, also paid tribute to Alvin, saying: “Alvin Lee. What a great natural guitar player. Frightened of nothing, just grabbed a guitar & rocked like f***. Met him in 1961 thereabouts, shared a stage in Nottingham with him & he was on it then. Playing songs, me being a bit snobbish, I never thought any other British muso knew except myself so I was instantly impressed & have been ever since. Always stayed pals even though we were separated by different roles & countries. He did a lot of really good stuff on my albums over the years… Lotsa love Alvin it was a pleasure knowing you.” 

Alvin Lee

Alvin Lee of Ten Years After has died at the age of 68

Lee was born in Nottingham, England, in 1944 and started playing guitar at the age of 13. Two years later, he had formed a band named The Jaybirds, which would become the core of Ten Years Later. Success beckoned for the band when they moved to London in 1966 and secured a residency at the legendary Marquee club.