Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Rest in peace, Alvin Lee

To borrow some lyrics from John Mellencamp, I was born in a small town, and I was raised in a small town.  It was out in the middle of nowhere.  It had one AM radio station that signed off at sundown every day.  In the morning, it would play either country music or easy listening/show tunes.  During the noon hour, it was polka time.

No, I'm not kidding.

In the afternoon, it was time for rock 'n' roll.  While that one radio station would play some great songs, it was still a bit limited in what it could/would play.

In my hometown, Woodstock was a universe away in 1969.  We might have seen glimpses of it on the nightly news, we might have heard a few songs from it on the radio but only the studio versions, not the festival recordings.

I don't think I knew about the band Ten Years After until around 1971, when I picked up a "greatest hits" 8-track tape from a local store for a couple of bucks.  I immediately fell in love with the song "I'd Love To Change The World."

The years went on, and my exposure to the songs from Woodstock finally came to light through the soundtrack album and film.  Alvin Lee's guitar playing on "I'm Going Home" blew me away.  I know I haven't been alone.

Alvin Lee died today at age 68 from complications following a routine surgical procedure.  A lot of music-loving friends are mourning the loss, and for good reason.  A very memorable part of our musical lives goes along with this guitar hero.

Alvin Lee's "going home."  Rest in peace, Alvin.

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