Alvin Lee - The Early Years
1944: Born in Nottingham, England
and Doris. Avid fans of swing
jazz and ethnic
blues, Sam and Doris exposed
to a broad range of musical styles
Alvin at age 2, with his father Sam
Age 4, building sandcastles
1955: Asked to study an instrument,
1956: Taken with the new skiffle
in England, Alvin swtiches his
the guitar. His mother recalls
practiced every minute he could
and got on
like crazy with it, so quickly.
We knew the
talent was there and nothing
could stop him."
1957: Alvin joins his first band
Marshall and the Squarecaps,
1958: Now the lead guitarist
of Alan Upton
and the Jailbreakers, Alvin plays
professional gig - a 10 minute
films at a drive in movie theatre.
Alvin at age 15
1960: Alvin Lee and Leo Lyons
meet when they
both join a local Nottingham,
called the Atomites with drummer
Recruiting singer Ivan Jay, they
Jay and the Jaymen. An attempt
to make it
"big" in London backfires,
the band, sans singer Jay, returned
1961. The Jaymen become the Jaycats
1962: The Jaycats become the
head to the Star Club in germany
for a five
week gig. Lead guitarist Lee
also takes over
lead vocals while in Germany.
year original drummer Pete Evans
with Dave Quickmire.
1963: The Jaybirds find local
the Nottingham/Mansfield area
1964: Encouraged by their local
Alvin and the Jaybirds move to
after "nearly starving to
return home to Nottingham .
Around this time, Alvin purchased
cherry red Gibson ES335 for 45
guitar would go on to be lovingly
"Big Red" and be almost
as its owner.
1965: In August Ric Lee is persuaded
his band, the Mansfields, and
take over drumming
duties for the Jaybirds.
1966: The Jaybirds move to London
work as a back up band for a
pop group, Ivy
League. Chick Churchill becomes
player for the Jaybirds. In November
sign with a manager, Chris Wright.
for a more modern name, they
try out Blues
Trip, play one gig at London's
as Blues Yard (supporting Bonzo
and finally settle on Ten Years
After - a
name they picked from local radio