Leo's pride & joy: his new Bass Guitar


LEO LYONS Biography

Born in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, on November 30th, 1943, Leo became a professional musician at 16 and as the founding member of the band Ten Years After has been an on-stage eyewitness to some of the most pivotal moments in the history of Rock and Roll. In 1962 with his band called The Jaybirds along with guitarist Alvin Lee he performed at The Star Club,  Hamburg, Germany where, only a week earlier, The Beatles had polished up their act. Leo was hired to play in the club’s house band with Tony Sheridan and yet he still found the time to guest at the Top Ten Club with guitarist Albert Lee.      

Like the Beatles, The Jaybirds returned home to England, made the move from their hometown to London and secured their first recording contract with legendary record producer Joe Meek.    

From 1963 to 1966, as well as playing and managing The Jaybirds, Leo worked as a session musician, and toured as a sideman with pop acts of the day, he appeared in a play in London’s West End and also played a residency with poll winning British Jazz Guitarist Denny Wright.     

In 1967 with a name change to Ten Years After, a residency at London’s famous Marquee Club and a debut album out on Deram Records, the band were soon to build a huge following around the world.      

Fillmore’s East and West founder Bill Graham heard the band’s first album and immediately sent a letter offering to book Ten Years After into his historic venues in San Francisco and New York. They were also one of the first rock groups to be part of the Newport Jazz Festival. At Newport and on tour Ten Years After performed with Nina Simone, Roland Kirk, Miles Davis and other jazz legends barnstorming across the USA.  

Leo always had a passion for the recording process and it was a logical step to go into record production. In 1975 Chrysalis Records hired him as studio manager to re-equip and run Wessex Studios in London.  He was later to go on and build two commercial studios of his own.   He has produced records for UFO (No Heavy Petting-Force It-Phenomenon) Magnum, Waysted, Procol Harum, Frankie Miller, Richard and Linda Thompson, Brigette St. John, John Martyn, Kevin Coyne, Sassafras, MotörHead, Hatfield and the North, The Bogie Boys, The Winkies, Chris Farlowe, Chevy and many more. Other projects include stage musicals, cartoon soundtracks, film and music videos. He also has released two CD’S with his own band called Kick and his songs have been recorded by other artists and used in television and film.     

After years of being a workaholic Leo turned down all offers, retired with his wife Sally, bought a farm in the Cotswolds and settled down to enjoy family life with their two young sons. Music was too much in his blood for him to be completely inactive and he continued song writing and recording in his home studio on the farm. Time moved on and his two sons Tom and Harry grew up and went to collage.       

Leo’s songs came to the attention of Nashville publishers Hayes Street Music who signed him  as a staff writer and after several years of commuting from the United Kingdom he made the move to Nashville.   

In 1997 Ten Years After got back together after an invitation to play in Brazil. The reception from the Brazilian audiences was incredible and the band carried on performing for enthusiastic crowds at major festivals across Europe and America.    

On August 14th 1998 Ten Years After made a triumphant return to play the Woodstock Festival at Bethel, New York, on the original sight of the first Woodstock Festival some 29 years earlier. The concert called “A Day In The Garden” was broadcast live to the World on the Internet. Info seek reported that 57 million people logged on during the festival.      

Leo still loves to get out and play and aside from writing and producing, he’s toured the United States with The Scott Holt Band and he has been guest bassist on many recording sessions including CD’S by Savoy Brown and Leslie West ( As Phat As It Gets). He never stops working. His interests outside music include the paranormal, alternative medicine, martial arts and has an interest in all new technology. He is a vegetarian, married with two grown up sons and he currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee where he is active as a songwriter, musician, record producer / engineer.