Ten Years After is an English blues-rock band, most popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Between 1968 and 1973, Ten Years After scored eight Top 40 albums on the UK Albums Chart. In addition they have had twelve albums enter the US Billboard 200, and are best known for their tracks «I’m Going Home», «Hear Me Calling», «I’d Love To Change the World» and «Love Like a Man».
The Jaybirds, as Lee’s early band was called from 1962, were popular locally, and had success at the Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany (since that time lead guitarist Lee also took lead vocals), following The Beatles there the same year. But it was not until the band moved to London in 1966 and changed its name, first to Jaybird, dropping ‘The’ and ‘s’ to make it sound more contemporary; then to Blues Yard (for one gig at the Marquee Club); and finally to Ten Years After (TYA), that international success beckoned. The band secured a residency at the Marquee Club, and an invitation to the Windsor Jazz & Blues Festival in 1967, led to their first recording contract. The self titled debut album received airplay on San Francisco, California’s underground radio stations and was embraced by listeners, including concert promoter Bill Graham, who invited the band to tour the United States for the first time in 1968. TYA would ultimately tour the U.S. twenty-eight times in seven years, more than any other UK band.
Appearing at the Woodstock Festival, Lee’s performance was captured on film in the documentary of the festival and his playing helped catapult him into stardom. Soon the band was playing arenas and stadia around the globe. Although Lee later lamented that he missed the intimacy of smaller venues, the impact the film made brought his music to a worldwide audience.
TYA had success, releasing ten albums together, but by 1973, Lee was feeling limited by the band’s style. With American gospel singer Mylon LeFevre and George Harrison, Steve Winwood, Ronnie Wood and Mick Fleetwood, he recorded and released On the Road to Freedom, an acclaimed album that was at the forefront of country rock. A year later, in response to a dare, Lee formed Alvin Lee & Company to play a show at the Rainbow in London and released it as a double live album, In Flight. Various members of the band continued on with Lee for his next two albums, Pump Iron and Let it Rock. In late 1975, he played guitar for a couple of tracks on Bo Diddley‘s The 20th Anniversary of Rock ‘n’ Roll all-star album. He finished out the 1970s with Ten Years Later who also released two albums, Rocket Fuel (1978) and Ride On (1979) and toured extensively throughout Europe and the United States.
The 1980s brought another change in Lee’s direction, with two albums that were collaborations with Rare Bird‘s Steve Gould, and a tour with the former John Mayall and Rolling Stones‘ guitarist Mick Taylor joining his band.