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Ten Years After

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Ten Years After
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From Alvin to Elvis:

The band that eventually became known as Ten Years After was actually born six years before they adopted the name that they would carry into classic rock history.

In 1960 they were Ivan Jay and the Jaycats, later adopting variations: Ivan Jay and The Jaymen, The Jaybirds. They had developed a solid fan base in and around their home base in Nottinghamshire, England but in 1966 they decided to spread their wings, moving to London, finding a manager, and changing their name yet again to The Bluesyard.

The final name change came in 1966, courtesy of guitarist, vocalist and founding member, Alvin Lee. An avid fan of Elvis Presley, Lee came up with the name Ten Years After to commemorate the 1956 debut album that ultimately propelled Presley to legend status.

At the core

Lee and bassist Leo Lyons had performed together since the early Jaybirds days. Chick Churchill started out as the Jaybirds road manager, but eventually took over keyboards. Ric Lee was recruited when the Jaybirds' original drummer left the group.

By the time they got to Woodstock in 1969, TYA had released three albums and toured extensively, scoring another major festival gig, the 1969 Newport Jazz Festival. Their distinctive jazz-blues-rock fusion was a big hit with the Woodstock crowd, and after their performance was included in the subsequent film and soundtrack album, TYA officially hit the big time.

Watch TYA's performance of "I'm Going Home" at Woodstock

Eventually the band would have a dozen albums on the Billboard 200, with similar success in their homeland, landing eight of their albums in the UK album chart's Top 40. They also continued a heavy tour schedule.

The end, and the other beginnings

It wasn't a lack of success that ended Ten Years After. Alvin Lee's decision to leave the band in 1974 was, in effect, because of the band's success. "I was in danger of joining the dead before 30 club," Lee said when he released his 2012 album, Still on the Road to Freedom. "I decided to take the road to freedom rather than the road to fame and fortune." Lee also cited what he called "the commerciality of the music industrialists" as part of the motivation for becoming a solo artist and making his own decisions about the music he performed.

Almost ten years after their breakup, TYA (including Alvin Lee) reunited for a one-off festival performance in 1983. They came together again in 1988 to record a new album and play a few concert dates. In 1989 they celebrated the 20th anniversary of their Woodstock performance by playing the Eurowoodstock festival in Budapest, Hungary.

When the band reunited once more in 2003, Alvin Lee begged off, replaced by Joe Gooch on vocals and guitar. Since then the band's lineup has consisted of Gooch and original members Chick Churchill, Ric Lee and Leo Lyons. Alvin Lee continued his solo career until March 2013, when complications from a routine medical procedure resulted in his death at age 68.

Ten Years After Discography

1967 - Ten Years After
1968 - Undead (live)
1969 - Stonedhenge
1969 - Ssssh
1970 - Cricklewood Green
1970 - Watt
1971 - A Space in Time
1972 - Rock & Roll Music to the World
1973 - Recorded Live
1974 - Positive Vibrations
1989 - About Time
2001 - Live at the Fillmore East 1970
2003 - One Night Jammed (live)
2004 - Now
2005 - Roadworks (live)
2008 - Evolution 2009 - Live at Fiesta City (DVD)
2012 - Live from the Marquee Club (DVD)
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