British blues-rock quartet Ten Years After originally consisted of Alvin Lee (born December 19, 1944, died March 6, 2013), guitar and vocals; Chick Churchill (born January 2, 1949), keyboards; Leo Lyons (born November 30, 1944) bass; and Ric Lee (born October 20, 1945), drums. The group was formed in 1967 and signed to Decca in England. Their first album was not a success, but their second, the live Undead (1968) containing "I'm Going Home," a six-minute blues workout by the fleet-fingered Alvin, hit the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. Stonedhenge (1969) hit the U.K. Top Ten in early 1969. Ten Years After's U.S. breakthrough came as a result of their appearance at Woodstock, at which they played a nine-minute version of "I'm Going Home." Their next album, Ssssh, reached the U.S. Top 20, and Cricklewood Green, containing the hit single "Love Like a Man," reached number four. Watt completed the group's Decca contract, after which they signed with Columbia and moved in a more mainstream pop direction, typified by the gold-selling 1971 album A Space in Time and its Top 40 single, "I'd Love to Change the World."
Subsequent efforts in that direction were less successful, however, and Ten Years After split up after the release of Positive Vibrations in 1974. They reunited in 1988 for concerts in Europe and recorded their first new album in 15 years, About Time, in 1989 before disbanding once again. In 2001, Ric Lee was preparing the back catalog for re-release when he discovered the Live at the Fillmore East 1970 tapes. He approached Alvin Lee about getting back together to promote the lost album, but Alvin declined. The rest of the band was up for it, though, and together with guitarist Joe Gooch, Ten Years After started touring again. In addition to touring the world, this new incarnation recorded its first new material in about a decade and a half and released Now in 2004, adding the live double-CD set Roadworks in 2005. Alvin Lee died on March 6, 2013 at the age of 68 due to complications from a routine surgery. Ten Years After continued to tour after Alvin's death with a lineup featuring Chick Churchill and Ric Lee plus two new members: guitarist/vocalist Marcus Bonfanti and bassist Colin Hodgkinson. This incarnation released its first studio album, A Sting in the Tale, in 2017. ~ William Ruhlmann