Guitarist Alvin Lee dead at 68

Alvin Lee

Photo: Capital Records

Famed guitarist Alvin Lee of the English rock band Ten Years After died this morning from complications resulting from a routine surgery, this according to his website.

“With great sadness we have to announce that Alvin unexpectedly passed away early this morning after unforeseen complications following a routine surgical procedure,” his family posted on his website. “We have lost a wonderful and much loved father and companion, the world has lost a truly great and gifted musician.”

Lee began playing guitar at a young age, forming Ten Years After at the age of 15 in 1960 with friend Leo Lyons.

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Photo: Rainman

Their self-titled debut album was consistently play on San Francisco’s underground radio stations, where listeners couldn’t get enough. Concert promoter Bill Graham took note, inviting TYA to tour the US. Lee won the hearts of listeners with his distinctive, lightning quick guitar playing, propelling him and his sticker laden red Gibson, referred to as ‘Big Red,’ to iconic status.

The band played a mix of blues, swing jazz and rock. They toured the US 28 times in 7 years, more than any other U.K. band.

TYA performed at the legendary Woodstock Festival with Lee’s solo performance being one of the highlights of the festival. Lee was featured in the documentary which catapulted him into the public eye filling arenas and stadiums across the country.

After splitting the group in 1973, Lee started recording solo, releasing a number of albums and collaborating with big names such as Mick Fleetwood, George Harrison, Steve Winwood and Ron Wood.

Just last year he released ‘Still On The Road To Freedom.’

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