Alvin Lee’s death yesterday brought up all those old issues about fame and fortune. Lee’s fame was founded almost entirely on his appearance in the film documentary of the first Woodstock Festival, and not much else.
He was one of those guys who got struck by lightning. I’m don't begrudge him his success, but I’ve met hundreds of guys over the years who could do Lee’s act, which is to stretch out a three chord blues tune with lots of flashy licks. Some of the ones I’ve run into were better than Lee. Lee's act was, in short, generic.
Lightning struck Lee, somehow, and he was the guy who got the stage time at Woodstock. It would be somewhat interesting to learn how that happened.
Lee never made a great album. His entire career, so far as I can see, lived on nostalgia for that bit at Woodstock.
Am I jealous? Of course! Musicians are all jealous of those who got struck by the inexplicable lightning of fame. It could just as well have been me! Fame is fickle. I’ve also known hundreds of guys who got their brief moment and then faded away, never to be heard from again.
I hope Lee enjoyed his odd bit of luck. I doubt that he ever really had to work at a job as a result of that stroke of luck. I don’t know enough about his life to know whether that turned out to be a good thing or a bad thing.
Such is fate!