Ten Years After
are 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 had twelve albums enter
the US Billboard 200, and are best known for tracks such as "I'm Going
Home", "Hear Me Calling", "I'd Love to Change the World" and "Love Like a
The band's core formed in late 1960 as Ivan Jay and the Jaycats. After
several years of local success in the Nottingham/Mansfield, known since
1962 as the Jaybirds and later as Ivan Jay and the Jaymen, Alvin Lee and Leo Lyons founded Ten Years After. Ivan Jay (born Ivan Joseph Harrison, 1939, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, died in April 2009, USA) sang lead vocals from late 1960 to 1962 and was joined by Ric Lee in August 1965, replacing drummer Dave Quickmire (born David Quickmire, 1940, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire), who had replaced Pete Evans (born Peter Evans, 1940, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire) in 1962. Ray Cooper (born 11 November 1943, Husthwaite, Nottinghamshire) played rhythm guitar, vocals from 1960 to 1962.
In 1966, The Jaybirds moved to London to back The Ivy League. In the
same year, Chick Churchill joined the group as keyboard player. That
November, the quartet signed a manager, Chris Wright, and changed their
name to Blues Trip. Using the name Blues Yard they played one show at
the Marquee Club supporting the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. They again
changed their name, to Ten Years After – in honour of Elvis Presley,
[dubious – discuss] an idol of Lee's. (This was ten years after
Presley's successful year, 1956). Some sources claim that the name was
pulled by Leo Lyons from a magazine, advertising a book, Ten Years After
The Suez (referring to the Suez Crisis).
The group was the first act booked by the soon-to-be Chrysalis Agency.
It secured a residency at the Marquee, and was invited to play at the
Windsor Jazz Festival in 1967. That performance led to a contract with
Deram, a subsidiary of Decca — the first band Deram signed without a hit
single. In October 1967 they released the self-titled debut album, Ten
In 1968, after touring Scandinavia and the United States, Ten Years
After released a second album, the live Undead, with the noteworthy
song, "I'm Going Home". They followed this in February 1969 by the
studio issue Stonedhenge, a British hit that included another well-known
track, "Hear Me Calling" (it was released also as a single, and covered
in 1972 by the British glam rock rising stars, Slade). In July 1969,
the group appeared at the Newport Jazz Festival, in the first event rock
bands were invited to. Between 26–27 July 1969, they appeared at the
Seattle Pop Festival held at Gold Creek Park. On 17 August, the band
performed a breakthrough American appearance at Woodstock; their
rendition of "I'm Going Home" featuring Alvin Lee as lead singer, was
featured in both the subsequent film and soundtrack album and catapulted
them to star status.
In 1970, Ten Years After released "Love Like a Man", the group's only
hit in the UK Singles Chart, where it peaked at #10. It was the first
record issued with a different playing speed on each side: a
three-minute edit at 45rpm, and a nearly eight-minute live version at
33rpm. This song was on the band's fifth album, Cricklewood Green. In
August 1970, Ten Years After played the Strawberry Fields Festival near
Toronto, and the Isle of Wight Festival 1970.
In 1971, the band switched labels to Columbia Records and released the
hit album A Space in Time, which marked a move toward more commercial
material. It featured the group's biggest hit, "I'd Love to Change the
World". In late 1972, the group issued their second Columbia album Rock
& Roll Music to the World and, in 1973, the live double album Ten
Years After Recorded Live. The band subsequently broke up after their
final 1974 Columbia album, Positive Vibrations. The members reunited in
1983 to play the Reading Festival, and this performance was later
released on CD as The Friday Rock Show Sessions – Live at Reading '83' .
In 1988, the members reunited for a few concerts and recorded the album
About Time (1989) with producer Terry Manning in Memphis. In 1994, they
participated in the Eurowoodstock festival in Budapest.
In 2003, the other band members replaced Alvin Lee with Joe Gooch, and
recorded the album, Now. Material from the following tour was used for
the 2005 double album, Roadworks. Alvin Lee mostly played and recorded
under his own name following his split from the band. He died from
complications during a routine medical procedure on 6 March 2013.
Ric Lee is also currently in a band called Ric Lee's Natural Born Swingers, along with Bob Hall.
In January 2014, it was announced that both Gooch and Lyons had left Ten
Years After. Two months later, veteran bass player Colin Hodgkinson and
singer/guitarist Marcus Bonfanti were announced as their replacements.