Leo Lyons

Leo David William Lyons (born 30 November 1943) is an English musician who was most notably the bassist of the blues rock band Ten Years After.[1]

Leo Lyons
Lyons with Ten Years After at Suwałki Blues Festival, 2009
Background information
Birth nameLeo David William Lyons
Born (1943-11-30) 30 November 1943
Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England
GenresBlues rock, blues, rock
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, record producer
InstrumentsBass guitar
Years active1960–present
LabelsDecca, Deram, Columbia, Chrysalis, EMI ((Corner House Records))
Associated actsThe Jaybirds, Ten Years After Hundred Seventy Split


Leo Lyons, born in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire in November 1943, became a professional musician at the age of 16. In 1962, his band The Jaybirds performed at The Star Club in Hamburg, Germany, where Lyons was hired to play in the club's house band, along with Tony Sheridan. During that time, he found time to play at the Top Ten Club along with Jaybirds co-founder, Alvin Lee.

The Jaybirds returned home to England, securing their first recording contract with legendary record producer Joe Meek. From 1963 to 1966, Lyons both played in and managed The Jaybirds. Lyons also found work as a session musician, toured as a sideman with pop acts of the day, appeared in a play in London's West End and played a residency in an exclusive London nightclub with British Jazz Guitarist Denny Wright.

In 1967, the Jaybirds changed their name to Ten Years After. The band was given a residency at London's famous Marquee Club and published a debut album on Deram Records. The band soon built up a large following in Europe. After Fillmore West founder Bill Graham heard a copy of the band's first album, he immediately sent a letter offering to book Ten Years After on tour in the United States. As part of Ten Years After, Lyons was one of the first rock performers at the Newport Jazz Festival.

In August 1969, the band's encore performance, “I’m Going Home” was captured on film at The Woodstock Music and Arts Festival, exposing their jazz, blues, and rock amalgam to even larger audiences of moviegoers who viewed the concert film. The group toured consistently between 1969 and 1975. Lyons estimates that the band performed for more than 75,000 new fans each week.

Lyons subsequently began working in record production, being hired by Chrysalis Records in 1975 as a studio manager for the Wessex Studios in London. Lyons later built two commercial studios of his own. As a producer, Lyons has worked with a number of musical acts, including UFO, Waysted, Motorhead, Richard and Linda Thompson, and many others.

In the 1990s, Lyons released two CDs with his band, Kick. Lyons has also worked as a staff writer for Nashville publishers Hayes Street Music, moving to Nashville from the United Kingdom in 1998.

In 2003, Ten Years After reformed and Lyons toured with the group for ten years. In 2010, he formed a side project with TYA guitarist/singer Joe Gooch, called ‘Hundred Seventy Split’. At the end of 2013, Lyons and Gooch were forced to resign from Ten Years After.

Lyons continued releasing albums as part of Hundred Seventy Split. The group is actively touring, and it performs TYA songs along with original material.

Lyons is married and has two adult sons. Lyons currently resides in Cardiff, Wales.


  1. Strong, Martin Charles; Peel, John (25 October 2004). The great rock discography. Canongate U.S. pp. 1526–. ISBN 978-1-84195-615-2. Retrieved 9 August 2011.
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