Alan White, who was the long-time drummer in the prog band Yes, has died, aged 72.
His family confirmed the news on Facebook today (May 26), writing that he had passed away after a “brief illness”.
White had been a member of Yes since he joined in 1972 as a replacement for original drummer, Bill Bruford. He made his debut on the band’s fifth album ‘Close To The Edge’, going on to play on over 40 studio albums, including their most recent ‘The Quest’, which was released in 2021.
Writing in a statement, the band said: “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.”
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.https://t.co/FjaCeYhUk2 pic.twitter.com/nPsL8m3XhH
— YESofficial (@yesofficial) May 26, 2022
White was also a member of John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band, having been recruited by the former Beatles frontman in 1969. He played on eight tracks on Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ album, including the title track and ‘Gimme Some Truth’. He also notably featured on Lennon’s ‘Instant Karma!’ and George Harrison’s third studio album ‘All Things Must Pass’.
As well as his work with Yes, White played with numerous bands throughout his career such as The Downbeats, Billy Fury’s band the Gamblers, Happy Magazine, Alan Price Big Band, Ginger Baker’s Air Force, Terry Reid, Joe Cocker and The Ventures.
White was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Yes in 2017.
The statement from the band concluded: “YES will dedicate their 50th Anniversary Close to the Edge UK Tour in June to White.”
The tour is due to begin on June 15 at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow, with news of European dates to come.
You can see some of the many tributes to White here:
Absolutely stunned to wake up to the news of Alan White’s passing. His playing for the past 50 yrs was a massive influence on me & I’ve had the honor of spending much time together thru the years. My condolences to his wife Gigi, his family & the entire Yes camp 🙏 #RIPAlanWhite pic.twitter.com/CU6RxAG4QU
— Mike Portnoy 🤘 (@MikePortnoy) May 26, 2022
Drummer Alan White, the Rock and Roll Hall Of Famer and longest-tenured member of Yes, has died at age 72 . He also played with John Lennon, George Harrison, Ginger Baker’s Air Force and Joe Cocker and will be deeply missed. pic.twitter.com/lO3kkgSC7d
— Eric Alper 🎧 (@ThatEricAlper) May 26, 2022
RIP Alan White. Your body of work with Yes speaks for itself, so all I can do is thank you for making so much of my favourite music pic.twitter.com/B9aSIj0GdW
— Keith Okie (@keith_okie) May 26, 2022
Saddened to hear about the passing of Yes drummer, Alan White. This pic was November 2019 at Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp. Ironic and somewhat beautiful that he’s sitting beneath the words “give you rest”.
Rest Peacefully my friend. 💙🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/gOnAeYj6jl
— Tony Franklin (@FretlessMonster) May 26, 2022
This is a developing story – more to follow