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Alvin Lee Is Going Home: 'Ten Years After' Guitarist Dies

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Alvin Lee Is Going Home: 'Ten Years After' Guitarist Dies

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Alvin Lee Is Going Home: 'Ten Years After' Guitarist Dies

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's take a moment, now, to remember the man who made this sound when he strapped on a guitar.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I'M GOING HOME"))

TEN YEARS AFTER: (Singing) Going home. My baby going home...

INSKEEP: That fast finger-work belonged to Alvin Lee, heard there at Woodstock in 1969. The British guitar player has died. His family says he suffered complications from a routine operation in Spain.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Alvin Lee was born in Nottingham, England. Like a generation of future British music stars, he grew up on American music, listening to jazz and blues in his parents' collection.

INSKEEP: He made a name for himself in a band called Ten Years After, where he became known for his work on a cherry-red Gibson guitar.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG FEATURING GUITARIST ALVIN LEE)

INSKEEP: Alvin Lee got his start in the years when radio disc jockeys could make a new artist.

MONTAGNE: His band's first album caught the ears of D.J.s in San Francisco. And a radio listener, the promoter Bill Graham, was impressed enough to sign the group. Ten Years After went on to record this hit, "I'd Love to Change the World."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I'D LOVE TO CHANGE THE WORLD")

TEN YEARS AFTER: (Singing) Tax the rich. Feed the poor till there are no rich no more...

INSKEEP: "I'd Love to Change the World" made money for the band. yet they never played it in concert. In arenas with his fans, Alvin Lee preferred to play the blues and rock on which he'd made his name.

Before his death yesterday, at age 68, he would work with some of the giants of his craft, playing sessions with Bo Diddley and Elvis guitarist Scotty Moore - artists who would have had a place among the records Alvin Lee heard, growing up.

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

MONTAGNE: And I'm Renee Montagne.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I'D LOVE TO CHANGE THE WORLD")

TEN YEARS AFTER: (Singing) Population keeps on breeding, nation bleeding, still more feeding economy...

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