Alvin Lee Dies At 68: See The Legendary Guitarist Wail in 10 Years After's 5 Greatest Video Clips Of All-Time! [VIDEO]
By Jesse Lent | March 07, 2013 03:43 PM EST
Alvin Lee died Wednesday in Spain in what was supposed to be a routine surgery.
The lead singer and guitarist of the British rock band 10 Years After dies due to "unforeseen complications following a routine surgical procedure," according to a post from family on Lee's website.
Alvin Lee's guitar playing, a powerfully fluid style that foreshadowed the more guitar-driven rock of the late 1970s and 80s, was the driving force behind 10 Years After's legendary sound.
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Although the band was known for their tightness, there was an element of spontaneity to the playing not seen in today's popular groups.
"We do whatever we feel like doing at the time," Lee said in an early 1970s television interview. "We do it. We never plan anything. We never say we're going to achieve this this year. We just hope things will go well. You know?"
Lee strongly believed his band's music was art. He spoke in the same interview about the struggle of putting out music coming from a sincere place in the pop music marketplace.
"We just follow musical integrity," Lee said. "We try to be artists in a world which artists are having a difficult time to live. To get art through in a day of commercialism can be difficult, but I believe it can be done."
Alvin Lee dies, leaving behind an amazing legacy of classic songs and iconic live performances with the band 10 Years After.
The dizzying array of notes that sprang from his Gibson ES-335, helped bring rock into the 1970s.
Here are our picks for the Top 5 Greatest Alvin Lee Live Performances of All-Time:
1. 10 Years After Looks Hip, Sounds Tight In Cologne. A 1969 performance of "Good Morning Little School Girl" filmed in Cologne, Germany in 1969 is the perfect summation of everything that made the band great: Lee's wailing guitar and the rhythm section's powerful-but-loose take on electric blues.
2. Alvin Lee Wails at Woodstock. It was 10 Years After's performance at the 1969 music festival, and particularly the appearance in the documentary film that followed that launched the band to superstardom.
3. Alvin Lee Plays Acoustic Guitar In A Field. Lee discusses 10 Years After's switch to Columbia Records from record label Deram in 1971 and performs an acoustic version of "I'd Love To Change The World" in a field. He then hits the studio for a full-band version of the same song.
4. 10 Years After Is Tres Bien On French TV. Lee looks groovier than ever in this 1968 performance, sporting psychedelic threads and a Noel Redding-style mop. Start the video clip 50 seconds in to skip the French host's long-winded intro, but it's worth it for the band's burning performance of "Rock Your Mama."
5. Lee Takes An Epic Solo In '75. If you're the type of person who likes a long guitar solo, you'll be in heaven during this 1975 performance of "I Can't Keep From Crying." Even if you aren't, check out Lee's electric take on classical guitar in this impressive clip.
Do you have your own favorite Alvin Lee video with 10 Years After? Please add it to the comments session. R.I.P. Alvin Lee.
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