Legendary drummer for Yes, Alan White, has passed away at the age of 72. According to reports he died peacefully at home. The band had recently announced he was ill and was not going to participate in the upcoming tour. In a statement on the Yes official Facebook page, the band made this statement:
“It is with deep sadness that YES announce Alan White, their much-loved drummer and friend of 50 years, has passed away, aged 72, after a short illness. The news has shocked and stunned the entire YES family. Alan had been looking forward to the forthcoming UK Tour, to celebrating his 50th Anniversary with YES and their iconic Close To The Edge album, where Alan’s journey with YES began in July 1972. He recently celebrated the 40th Anniversary of his marriage to his loving wife Gigi. Alan passed away, peacefully at home.
Alan is considered to be one of the greatest rock drummers of all time. He was born in 1949 in County Durham and joined YES on 30th July 1972 for the Close to the Edge Tour. He had previously worked with John Lennon’s Plastic Ono band after a phone call in 1969 to play at the Toronto Rock Festival. Alan continued working with Lennon including on the Imagine album and with George Harrison on All Things Must Pass. He also worked with several other musicians over the years, including Ginger Baker’s Air Force, Joe Cocker, Gary Wright, Doris Troy and Billy Preston to name but a few. Alan White was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of YES in 2017.
A number of health setbacks since 2016, had restricted Alan’s time on stage with YES on recent tours with Jay Schellen filling in and Alan joining the band, to great applause, towards the end of each set.
YES will dedicate their 50th Anniversary Close to the Edge UK Tour in June to White.”
White’s long list of credentials includes work on Imagine and “Instant Karma!” for John Lennon and All Things Must Pass by George Harrison, among other things before replacing Bill Bruford in Yes in 1972. He played drums and percussion on over 40 studio and live Yes albums. Last year Yes released the album The Quest with Alan on drums.
Photo by Geoff Bailie