Following the release of his first two successful solo albums, British vocalist-songwriter Gary Hughes was making the preparations to begin recording what was to be his third solo album. It was not long before the idea of an one disc album was dropped since Hughes ended up having written 28 songs, so it was decided to divide them into two albums – one containing the heavier material, and one that would contain the ballads. Additionally, the initial idea was to mix the album in the USA, so many renowned guitarists were considered for the guitarist position, including Doug Aldrich, Lanny Cordola and Ralph Santolla. However, when it was decided to lay down the guitar parts in England, the name of the guitarist Vinny Burns (Dare, Ultravox) was brought up. The name was quite familiar to Hughes, since they both knew each other from quite a few years back. Given the fact that Mike Stone was assigned to mix the albums, the Hughes/Burns project quickly evolved into a band situation, thus marking the first official incarnation of TEN. During the first year of the band's existence, another ex-Dare member joined the band when Greg Morgan was brought in to fill in for the drummer position.
Early years (1996–2001)
The band's first album (named X) was released in May 1996 and was warmly acclaimed by the fans and the press especially in the UK and Japan, where they were outselling huge rock bands, reaching sales of 50,000 records only during the first week of release. In order to support the album for the upcoming tour, the band recruited bassist Martin "Shelley" Shelton (ex-Dare), keyboard player Ged Rylands (ex-KAGE) and guitarist John Halliwell (ex-KAGE). With the songs already written, the band returned to the studio in order to finish their second album. The Name of the Rose was released in September of the same year (1996) and was equally successful to X, gaining some enthusiastic reviews from the critics. The title track was also voted “Song Of The Year” by the readers of BURRN! magazine in Japan.
With the success of the first two albums and the growing popularity of the band, the first full-blown tour was arranged for the end of 1996. Before the tour, bassist Martin "Shelley" Shelton left the band and was replaced by Andrew "Drew" Webb. After a successful tour, TEN (without bassist Andrew "Drew" Webb) returned to the studio in order to record their next studio album. The mixing duties again were appointed to Mike Stone and The Robe was released in September 1997. The Robe marked a change in the overall sound of TEN, combining elements of the instantly recognisable melodic hard rock sound of the two previous albums and of powerful/epic atmospheres and influences. With the addition of bassist Steve Mckenna, the band toured heavily for a year, in support of their newly released album, while in 1998 the band's Japanese label ZERO Records and the European label Frontiers Records released a double live album named Never Say Goodbye.
TEN's popularity in Europe increased when the band signed to major label Mercury Records for the release of their fourth studio album, Spellbound. The album was released in April 1999, was produced by Rafe Mckenna and was one of the most successful TEN albums in Europe. Spellbound was also the first TEN album for which famous fantasy artist Luis Royo designed the cover.
In 1999, the band returned to the studio in order to begin the recordings of their next album. Babylon, which was released in August 2000 and featured keyboard player Don Airey, was a concept album which was set in the future and was based around the story of a computer programmer and his tragic love affair. Babylon, once again, proved to be another successful release for TEN and Gary Hughes even entering the German Rock Album Charts.
Soon after, the band returned to the studio to record the follow-up album to Babylon, named Far Beyond the World. The recordings took place in Hannover, Germany, with Tommy Newton behind the mixing desk and ex-Hard Rain keyboard player Paul Hodson taking the place of Don Airey. In December 2001, TEN released Far Beyond the World; but just before the promotion of the new album had begun, guitarist Vinny Burns announced his departure from the band, citing creative differences.
Later years (2002–2007)
The band held auditions for the position of the lead guitarist, and in January 2002 announced Chris Francis as Vinny Burns' replacement. During 2002 and 2003, the band took a break since Gary Hughes and the rest of the band had been working on Hughes' two-part rock opera project named Once and Future King.
TEN returned in the forefront again with the release of Return to Evermore in 2004 initially through Gary Hughes' own record label Intensity Records, while in 2005 the band announced that they would release a double disk Best Of collection, aptly named The Essential Collection 1995-2005, in order to celebrate the band's tenth anniversary. The Essential Collection 1995-2005 featured newly recorded versions of the songs, which were divided into two disks – one containing the ballads and one the heavier material.
In addition to The Essential Collection, the band announced the release of a new album in 2006 and so, in August 2006, the band released The Twilight Chronicles, which featured another change in the sound of the band, leaning towards a more symphonic sound. By then, the band consisted of Hughes, Chris Francis, John Halliwell, Paul Hodson and session drummer Frank Basile, since bassist Steve Mckenna had left the band in December 2005. By 2007, TEN was put on a hiatus and by May 2008, lead guitarist Chris Francis had announced his departure from the band.
On July 2010, it was announced that Gary Hughes and the rest of the band had been working on a new TEN album named Stormwarning, due to be released in early 2011 marking the band's return after 4 years of silence. The album featured members Hughes, John Halliwell, Paul Hodson, Neil Fraser and Mark Zonder (Fates Warning) and was produced by Dennis Ward. A month later, an unreleased song from the Babylon sessions named "Dawn Star" appeared, as part of the AhORa Rock podcast of the Rocktopia music site. Originally, "Dawn Star" was meant to be the eleventh song on the Babylon album, but was removed from it three weeks prior to its final release.
On 21 January 2011, it was announced that the band would also be filming a video for the new album, with Devin Dehaven as the director. "Endless Symphony" was the highest budget video to date for the band and it was released just a month after. Stormwarning on the other hand, was released in January and once again, proved to be a successful comeback for the band and its frontman Hughes after four years of absence from the music scene.
On September 2011, Paul Hodson announced his departure from the band on a TEN group on Facebook. Soon after, guitarist Neil Fraser and bassist Mark Sumner followed. On the 5th of November 2011, on their Fleetwoodstock charity gig, their very first live appearance since the band's return, the band featured for the first time on a live setting, new lead guitarist Dan Mitchell and keyboardist Darrel Treece-Birch, alongside bassist Steve Mckenna, who, since August of the same year, had returned to the band. In May 2012, the band did their first UK tour, supported by the bands Serpentine and White Widdow, for the first time after their re-emergence. The band also appeared for the first time, on Firefest on the 19th of October of the same year alongside bands Tyketto, Dante Fox and Lionville.
The band's latest studio album, entitled Heresy and Creed, was released on the 26th of September 2012 in Japan, the 19th of October in Europe and the 22nd in North America. The leading single off the album was the song "Gunrunning", the video clip of which was again directed by Devin Dehaven. The album's success culminated into its entry to the UK rock album charts on the 30th position for October 2012.
In March 2013, the band performed in Athens, Greece for the first time, while in August of the same year, a day after the band's appearance on Vasby Rock Festival (on which Serpentine lead guitarist Chris Gould filled in for him), the band announced that lead guitarist Dan Mitchell left the band due to health problems related to his wrist and arm.
The band is currently working on their 11th studio album.
Last Updated: January 2014