Ten Years After – “I’d Love to Change the World!”

Photo credit: http://www.songfacts.com

Well, here’s a band I haven’t heard in years. I am sad to say that I had forgotten about them until I heard I’d Love to Change the World on my Sirius radio a few weeks ago. I can tell you it awakened in me the feelings of the 70’s as a teenager, enjoying life, going to school, playing sports, drill team and hanging out with my friends. Not a care in the world other than making sure my chores & homework were done. I listened and started longing for those good ole days as I enjoyed drove to my destination. I have listened to this song over and over. The band has changed members and are still doing what they love.

My favorite song of theirs will always be “I’d Love to Change the World!” Back when the song was written, there were many mind blowing events going on in the world, such as there are right now. These things made many song-writers put pen to paper and start writing out their feelings regarding things that struck a nerve in many Americans!

This song was written by guitarist Alvin Lee, who was the centerpiece of the group. “I’d love to change the world, but I don’t know what to do and I’ll leave it up to you. I’m just saying the world does need changing,” he said of the song in Vintage Rock. “I’d love to do it, but I haven’t got the talent. I don’t think I’m a world changer.”

The song is a good look at what were considered the big problems in the world in 1971: overpopulation, economic inequality, pollution, war. Alvin Lee often said in later interviews that the song remained just as relevant despite the passage of time.

The first line in this song throws out a few slurs:

Every where is freaks and hairies, dykes and fairies

“Freaks” and “hairies” are terms that detractors used to describe the band – after all, they did play Woodstock. The dykes and fairies are likely a reflection on how others might see the world, and it also creates a memorable rhyme. Later in the song, Alvin Lee pulls out a rhyme of convenience in the lyrics:
Life is funny
Skies are sunny
Bees make honey
Who needs money?

Formed in Nottingham, England, Ten Years After made a huge impact when they played the Woodstock festival in 1969 – their performance of “I’m Going Home” made the film. They released two albums in 1969, two more in 1970, and one in 1971 – A Space In Time, which contains “I’d Love To Change The World.” Their albums sold well, typically charting in the Top 25 in America, which was their stronghold. Hit singles were not a concern; Alvin Lee had almost a disdain for them because he didn’t want his songs edited down and then talked over by a DJ. “I’d Love To Change The World” was by far their biggest hit and most enduring song. Their other charting songs in America were “Love Like A Man” (#98, 1970), “Baby Won’t You Let Me Rock ‘N Roll You” (#61, 1972) and “Choo Choo Mama” (#89, 1973). The group stopped performing in 1975 but regrouped every now and then. Alvin Lee died in 2013, but the band had been playing without him for about 10 years by that point.

The group was formed in 1966. They took their name because it was 10 years after what they considered the birth of rock and roll.

Alvin Lee mostly played and recorded under his own name following his split from the band. He died from complications during a routine medical procedure on 6 March 2013.

Credit – http://www.songfacts.com

Band Members –
Current – Chick Churchill – keyboards (1966–1974, 1983, 1988–present)

Ric Lee – drums (1966–1974, 1983, 1988–present)

Marcus Bonfanti – guitar, vocals (2014–present)

Colin Hodgkinson – bass (2014–present)
Former – Alvin Lee – guitar, vocals, harp (1966–1974, 1983, 1988–2003; Died 2013)

Leo Lyons – bass (1966–1974, 1983, 1988–2014)

Joe Gooch – guitar, vocals (2003–2014

Everywhere is freaks and hairies
Dykes and fairies, tell me
where is sanity
Tax the rich, feed the poor
there are no rich no more?

I’d love to change the world
But I don’t know what to do
So I’ll
leave it up to you

Population keeps on breeding
Nation bleeding,
still more feeding economy
Life is funny,
skies are sunny
Bees make honey, who
needs money, Monopoly

I’d love to change the world
But I don’t know what to do
So I’ll
leave it up to you

World pollution, there’s no solution
Institution, electrocution
Just black and white, rich or poor
Them and us, stop the war

I’d love to change the world
But I don’t know what to do
So I’ll
leave it up to you