10 Best Ten Years After Songs
From simple raw and direct blues to haunting psychedelic drenched sounds, the best Ten Years After songs prove they are certainly one of rock and roll’s most criminally forgotten bands. Formed in 1966, and led by guitarist Alvin Lee (R.I.P.), the band finally got people to take notice after their incendiary performance at the original Woodstock festival.
Lee, along with (non-related) Ric Lee on drums, Leo Lyons on bass and Chick Churchill on organ pushed the boundaries of the blues rock format and in the process made a string of classic albums. From those we have chosen what we hope is a fitting tribute to Alvin Lee, the Top 10 Ten Years After Songs.
Like many of their contemporaries, Ten Years After began life as a straight ahead, no frills blues combo. One of the highlights of the band's fourth album, 'Ssssh,' 'Stoned Woman' tells the tale of a woman who is intent on keeping her man 'stoned out his mind all the time.' The band kicks up quote a racket here with a suitably raunchy lead from Lee, some groovin' organ work from Chick Churchill and the always dead on rhythm section of bassist Leo Lyons and drummer Ric Lee. Like Cream or Fleetwood Mac, Ten Years After proved they could dish out unadulterated blues with the best of 'em.
The peak of their 1972 LP 'Rock & Roll Music to the World,' 'Religion' finds Lee and company questioning more than just the tangible world. The slow groove creeps in as Lee sings 'I never really understood religion, except it seems a good excuse to kill.' At the time, religions, spirituality and self discovery were everywhere, in fact, Jesus was quite popular with 'the young folk,' as the subject of many hit record at the time. Lee, however, has a different take on things and agree or disagree with his views, the man could play some mighty fine guitar. The band explore and explode here and deliver one of the top Ten Years After songs of all time.
'Working On The Road'
A killer rock and roller from the band's fifth album, the classic 'Cricklewood Green,' 'Working On The Road' is another take on the standard 'travellin' on the road' tale, filled with a vibrant urgency that is irresistible. The song's chorus is so damn simple and yet so damn perfect! A blazing solo top things off perfectly here. The band cook along like a steam powered train, and the band seems like its about to derail itself before regaining composure by song's end.
'She Lies In The Morning Sun'
Brimming with a very pure pop style not usually associated with Ten Years After, 'She Lies With The Morning Sun' comes together in a way that (almost) combines the melodic sweetness of Paul McCartney or Badfinger, before spiraling into this jazz interlude that totally changes the mood. But you know what...it works! The jazz gives way and the band surge back in full throttle, heading eight or so miles high. They once again land on jazz-filled water, never returning to the shore of pure pop this ship was launched from. It's like three songs in one and if unique doesn't quite describe it, well, stellar does.
'Love Like A Man'
With a hypnotic riff propelling things, this growling groover burns bright for all of its eight minutes of glory. The band build intensity as they move along, something they were quite adept at -- and once things get rolling, it's full on guitar heaven. There's stellar interplay between Lee and organist Chick Churchill, and the band ebb and flow throughout. The song was released in edited form as a single, and became their only UK hit, making it's way to the Top 10 in the summer of 1970.
'Let The Sky Fall'
A strong, catchy riff is something Alvin Lee never seemed to be without. 'Let The Sky Fall,' from the 1971 LP 'A Space In Time,' dishes out yet another instantly catchy riff to lure the listener in. Featuring a subtle, yet effective vocal, this top Ten Years After song swings and sways with beauty. Check out the pretty backwards guitar lines, and how they mix in seamlessly with the more straight ahead lead work.
'A Sad Song'
Moody and brilliant, 'A Sad Song' is one of Ten Years After's most haunting tunes. Lee sounds on the edge of total desperation as he recounts this tale of woe. As he sings, "The tears in my eyes are all that you'll find, the scars on my face just deepen my mind," you feel his pain, and the brutally sparse arrangement leaves room for his blues to shine. No wild solos, no studio trickery, no flash, just pure blues. This is as good as this style gets.
'Hear Me Calling'
Shall we say rollicking stomper?! Yes we shall. 'Hear Me Calling' is just that and more. Employing the bouncing bluesy groove always favored by the great Status Quo, this is prime boogie grooving rock and roll and just one of many high points on the band's third LP 'Stonedhenge.' The groove is relentless and leaves plenty of room for Lee to roam with guitar in hand, dishing out another savage solo. The song was covered a couple years later by the one and only Slade!
'I'm Going Home'
Though Ten Years After had been kicking around the UK scene for a few years before, it wasn't until their appearance at Woodstock in the summer of 1969 that American rock fans took note. Even more attention was paid after the Woodstock movie and soundtrack LP were released in 1970. At that point Alvin Lee and band were turning heads everywhere. Who was this guy playing that killer guitar? The song itself was a live staple in the band's set for a couple years and was even released as a three minute edited single. That is a full on raver, but it's the lengthy Woodstock version that made people take notice, hence it's appearance on our Top 10 Ten Years After song list!
'I'd Love To Change The World'
The band's sole entry into the US top 40 was this beautiful song from their 1971 album 'A Space In Time.' The '60s were over, the hippie dream gone with them, and like many, Lee was coming to terms with a new decade and a new reality. 'I'd Love To Change The World' surveys the landscape and, not surprisingly, comes up without a concrete answer. The song oozes with a certain sadness and yet is achingly beautiful all the while. Lee whips out one of his finest and most emotional leads here. For many, the song still stands as the soundtrack to that post-Woodstock state of mind, and is still a staple on classic rock radio over 40 years later.