Personalities | Albert Lee | Triumph on a Telecaster | Guitar Heroes

Rock guitarist Albert Lee was born in Leominster, Herefordshire in 1943. The son of a musician, Lee started his musical career on piano, but like many of his generation, took up the guitar upon the arrival of rock’n’roll, inspired in particular by Buddy Holly.

He played in various bands after leaving school at the age of 16, before becoming lead guitarist with Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds.

Preferring country to the soul-influenced music of Farlowe, he left in 1968 to join country-rock outfit Heads Hands & Feet. While playing with the band, Lee made his name as a guitarist, gaining a reputation for the amazing speed at which he played his Fender Telecaster. Heads Hands & Feet were a popular live attraction in Britain and Europe, but their critically acclaimed albums failed to reach a mainstream audience.

In 1974, Lee relocated to Los Angeles, where he found himself very much in demand as a session musician but unable to progress his solo career satisfactorily. He joined Emmylou Harris’s Hot Band in 1976 as a replacement for one of his idols, James Burton. Two years later, he linked up with Eric Clapton, with whom he played for the next five years. Lee has also worked with The Everly Brothers, having masterminded their 1983 reunion concert and served as its musical director. In 1987, he fronted a band for the first time, Hogan’s Heroes, with whom he still tours regularly. Although not well known to the general public, Hogan’s Heroes regularly attracts star names to jam with them. Lee has also worked frequently with Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings.

Because of his long association with the Fender instrument, Lee has become known as ‘Mr Telecaster’, although he has also played Gibson guitars, an Ernie Ball Music Man and a Stratocaster from time to time. Lee has not been rewarded with great commercial success or fame, but is widely admired by his peers and acknowledged as the guitarist’s guitarist, particularly renowned for his fingerstyle and hybrid picking techniques. While his trademarks are speed and virtuosity, he is equally adept at slower, melodic passages.

Essential Recordings

Heads Hands & Feet: Tracks

Emmylou Harris: Roses In The Snow

Eric Clapton: Money And Cigarettes

Solo: Heartbreak Hill

Personalities | Alvin Lee | Titan of Ten Years After | Guitar Heroes


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