Last updated: 09/20/2004 09:39:28 PM
A Manchester based AOR band that carried many predictions for a major career. Although TEN scored almost instantaneous success in Japan they found it much tougher going in Europe and the USA. The band’s first crop of album’s boasted an enviable array of individual talents, especially with vocalist Gary Hughes and guitarist Vinny Burns, and reaped huge acclaim from the AOR press but TEN struggled to break free of the independent circuit. Indeed, in their homeland TEN unfortunately found it difficult to even break any bigger than a seemingly permanent fixture as headliners of their label organised club events ‘The Gods’.
TEN was formed in 1995 by the much-lauded vocalist GARY HUGHES, following two previous solo albums, and ex-DARE, ASIA and ULTRAVOX guitarist VINNY BURNS. Later added erstwhile SIMPLY RED and ASIA guitarist Aziz Ibrihim and the former DARE rhythm section of bassist Shelley and drummer Geoff Morgan.
The debut album was crafted by the late and esteemed figure of JOURNEY producer Mike Stone. It was released in May 1996 selling 20'000 copies in Japan where the group immediately gained a rabid following. This set the wheels in motion for the recording of a second album, 'In The Name Of The Rose', that was released later the same year and began work on a third album in 1997. In the interim, TEN worked with ex-VALENTINE and OPEN SKYZ vocalist HUGO assisting in the recording of the American's debut solo album, produced by Hughes.
Having appeared at the 1996 event, in November 1997 TEN once again headlined Now And Then's 'Gods' show, on a bill that differed very little from the previous year's festivities. This time, however, the group was celebrating the release of a brand new album, 'The Robe'
A year ending trek to Japan resulted in the group's Japanese label, Zero Corporation, releasing a double live package in early 1998. Giving their by now predictable slot at 'The Gods' festival a miss for a change Burns nonetheless turned up on stage adding guitar to ex-MAGNUM frontman BOB CATLEY's live set.
TEN's status increased in Japan the band signed to major label Mercury Records for their 1999 release 'Spellbound'. For this effort TEN pulled in producer Rafe McKenna. Keyboards came courtesy of former TYGERS OF PAN TANG and WAYSTED man Ged Ryland.
Although TEN's star was still ascending not everything proved easy. The album recording took far longer than expected and recording was initially delayed when a promised drum kit failed to arrive in time!
Ryland quit later the same year to form 'supergroup' ARABIA with ex-VON GROOVE vocalist Michael Shotton, CATHEDRAL drummer Brian Dixon and another former TEN man bassist Steve McKenna. Ryland would also be located in a one off live version of CONTAGIOUS and as part of American guitarist DANNY DANZI's backing band. Meantime, 2000 found Burns issuing his debut solo album 'The Journey' with Hughes, naturally contributing alongside former YA YA and ULTRAVOX vocalist Sam Blue.
TEN would return to the studio for their 'Far Beyond The World' album. Recorded in Hannover, Germany and mixed by ex-VICTORY guitarist Tommy Newton the record would see the inclusion of former HARD RAIN keyboard player Paul Hodson into the ranks. However, just as the band was gearing up to promote the record guitarist VINNY BURNS announced his departure. During January of 2002 TEN announced Burns replacement as being Chris Francis, a graduate of the Guitar Institute of Technology. Hodson would temporarily join the ranks of PULSE for their 2002 appearance at 'The Gods' festival.
McKenna and Morgan would join ex-TYKETTO / WAYSTED singer Danny Vaughn's touring band VAUGHN in late 2003. The following year McKenna sessioned on US outfit MILLENIUM's 'Jericho' opus. That same year Paul Hodson launched his own act, aptly titled HODSON. Taking on the lead vocal role Hodson allied himself with PULSE and BOB CATLEY band guitarist Vince O'Regan, bassist Josie Vespa and PULSE's Lynch Radinsky on the drums for a 2004 debut 'This Strange World', released by the Italian Frontiers label.
TEN returned in June of 2004 with the album 'Return To Evermore', released through the band's own Intensity label.