Yes drummer Alan White dies aged 72, band confirms

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Max Parry

By Max Parry

Published: 26/05/2022

- 17:36

Updated: 26/05/2022

- 17:46

The rock and roll band announced the death, adding that he had been "looking forward" to their forthcoming tour

Rock and roll band Yes have announced the death of drummer Alan White at the age of 72.

The musician, who was born in 1949 in County Durham, died peacefully at home after a short illness.

The band said Mr White had been “looking forward” to the forthcoming UK tour and to celebrating his 50th anniversary with Yes, who he joined in 1972 for their Close to the Edge tour.

He also worked with stars including John Lennon, George Harrison and Joe Cocker during his long music career.

Alan White
Alan White

A statement on Mr White's official website read: "Alan White, our beloved husband, dad, and grandpa, passed away at the age of 72 at his Seattle-area home on May 26, 2022, after a brief illness.

"Throughout his life and six-decade career, Alan was many things to many people: a certified rock star to fans around the world; band mate to a select few, and gentleman and friend to all who met him.

"Alan was born in Pelton, County Durham, England on June 14, 1949. He began piano lessons at the age of six, began playing the drums at age twelve, and has been performing publicly since the age of thirteen.

"Throughout the 1960s, Alan honed his craft with a variety of bands, including The Downbeats, The Gamblers, Billy Fury, Alan Price Big Band, Bell and Arc, Terry Reid, Happy Magazine (later called Griffin), and Balls with Trevor Burton (The Move) and Denny Laine (Wings).

"In 1968, Alan joined Ginger Baker’s Airforce, a new group that was put together by the former drummer of Cream and other noted musicians from England’s music scene including Steve Winwood, formerly of Traffic.

"In 1969, Alan received what he thought at the time to be a prank phone call, but it was John Lennon calling to ask Alan to join the Plastic Ono Band.

"The next day Alan found himself learning songs in the back of an airliner headed to Toronto with Lennon, Yoko Ono, Eric Clapton, and Klaus Voormann.

"The ensuing album, Live Peace in Toronto, sold millions of copies, peaking at number 10 on the charts."

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