Drug use was also a factor, Lee once told the Nottingham Post. He had purchased a mansion with a recording studio but constant partying ruined most of the private recording sessions.
Following a stint in rehab, Lee emerged to pursue a solo career. He collaborated with such artists as George Harrison and Mick Fleetwood on 1973’s “On the Road to Freedom,” which featured vocals by Mylon LeFevre. Last fall, Lee released what would be his final album, “Still on the Road to Freedom.”
Over the years, Lee reunited with Ten Years After and performed with them as recently as 2000, according to his manager. The other original members of the quartet — keyboardist Chick Churchill, bass guitarist Leo Lyons and drummer Ric Lee — continue to tour as Ten Years After with another guitarist.
On Wednesday, Lyons called Lee “an inspiration for a generation of guitar players.”
“He was the closest thing I had to a brother,” Lyons told the Los Angeles Times in an email. “We had our differences but we shared so many great experiences together that nothing can take away.”
Lee was “a real leader of men,” Churchill said in a separate email. “When I first saw him play it became my ambition to play with him.”
The guitarist was born Graham Alvin Lee on Dec. 9, 1944, in Nottingham, England. His father, Sam, was a builder who collected jazz and blues records, and his mother, Doris, was a hairdresser.
At age 12, Alvin had a year of clarinet lessons behind him when American blues singer-guitarist Big Bill Broonzy came to the Lee house after a concert and held court. From then on “blues was in my heart,” Lee told the Times in 1994, and he took up guitar.
As Alvin Lee and His Amazing Talking Guitar, he made his debut as a professional musician at 13 at a regular gig at a movie theater.