Alvin Lee died on March 6, 2013, in Spain from complications following a routine surgical procedure. The news stunned everyone including his former bandmates from Ten Years After (TYA). Leo Lyons, one bandmate, called him "the closest thing I ever had to a brother".
Alvin Lee was one of the premiere rock/blues guitarits of the late sixties-early seventies. With Ten Years After, he recorded eight solid albums from 1967-1974 (not including the three live albums). "Cricklewood Green" and "A Space in Time" were the two best of those albums. "Love Like A Man" from 'Cricklewood' and "I'd Love to Change the World" from 'Space' became signature songs although "Going Home" from "Undead" and the "Woodstock soundtrack" was their best-known and most-requested tune. They played it at nearly every concert.
Lee was a showman and a "cool guy". His long blond hair gave him an aura of likability that transcended his talent without over-shadowing it. He was always happy onstage, always energetic and always into the moment. He appeared to be grateful to the entire audience for being there.
Lee and Leo Lyons formed TYA as the Jaybirds dating back to 1962. Through several name and personnel changes they ended up as a quartet with Ric Lee and Chick Churchill. They became Ten Years After in 1966 to honor Elvis Presley's year of enormous success--1956. Presley was a personal hero of Alvin's.
Alvin Lee left a lasting impression on rock music and its history. His death leaves an unfillable gap on the list of greatest guitarists. Rock music will push on but his friends and fans will miss Alvin Lee more than words can express. His appearances with TYA in Minneapolis/St. Paul were among the highest high points--especially the 1972-73 tour which brought him to the old Sports Center in Bloomington, MN.