SEATTLE – Alan White, the longtime drummer for progressive rock pioneers Yes, who also worked on projects with John Lennon and George Harrison, has died. He was 72.
White’s death was announced by his family on his Facebook page. According to the Post, he died Thursday at his home in the Seattle area after a short illness. Just days earlier, Yes had announced that due to health reasons, White would not be taking part in the band’s forthcoming tour of the UK to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the legendary Close to the Edge album.
White joined Yes in 1972, replacing original drummer Bill Bruford. In a band known for frequent line-up changes, White has been a constant and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017 as a member of Yes.
Although he did not appear on Close to the Edge, he has appeared on every subsequent Yes studio album for almost five decades, including the band’s most recent release, The Quest, which came out last year.
White stayed with the band throughout its many iterations. A pioneering act on England’s progressive rock scene, Yes rose to fame in the early 1970s alongside bands such as Genesis, Pink Floyd and Jethro Tull, and was particularly known for its intricate arrangements and the musicianship of its individual members.
As progressive rock fell out of fashion in the late 1970s, many of the bands associated with the genre struggled.
After another line-up change, Yes, with White still behind drums, reinvented themselves in the 1980s as a heavier band appealing to younger listeners more attuned to heavy metal and the visual cues of music videos. In 1983, Yes released the hit album 90125.
A longtime resident of the Seattle area, White was born in 1949 in Pelton, County Durham, England. According to his family, he began taking piano lessons at the age of 6 and played the drums when he was 12.
White played with bands in England in the 1960s. In 1969 he was asked by John Lennon to join his Plastic Ono Band. In a 2021 interview with the Seattle Times, White said he thought the famous Beatle’s call was a prank.
“A voice announced, ‘Hello, this is John Lennon,'” White said. “I thought it was a mate pulling my leg, hung up the phone and went back to the kitchen.”
White played a concert in Toronto in 1969 with Lennon’s band, which included guitarist Eric Clapton. White also played with another Beatle and contributed drums to George Harrison’s 1970 solo album All Things Must Pass.
In the statement announcing his death, his family wrote: “Alan was many things to many people: a certified rock star to fans around the world; Bandmate to a chosen few and gentleman and friend to all who met him.”
https://nypost.com/2022/05/27/alan-white-longtime-drummer-for-prog-rocks-yes-dead-at-72/ Alan White, longtime drummer for prog rock band Yes, has died at the age of 72