Alan White’s family says goodbye to the successful musician with a detailed statement. In addition, his band dedicates the next tour to him.
Alan White, who was active as a drummer with the band Yes and played for John Lennon’s hit “Imagine,” has died at the age of 72 after a short illness.
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Alan White had a long and successful career. The musician joined the progressive rock band Yes in 1972 and played with John Lennon in the Plastic Ono Band. Here he can be heard on the Lennon songs “Instant Karma” and “Imagine”. As a band member of Yes, White was recognized for his creative work and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2017. He also collaborated with George Harrison on “All Things Must Pass.”
“Alan White, our beloved husband, father and grandpa, passed away on May 26, 2022 at the age of 72 at his home in Seattle after a brief illness. Over the course of his life and six-decade career, Alan was many things to many people: a certified rock star to fans around the world, a bandmate to a few, and a gentleman and friend to all who met him,” his family wrote in a statement on Facebook.
Successful career as a musician
The bereaved family continued the statement with a cross-section of his successful career:
“Alan was born on June 14, 1949, in Pelton, County Durham, England. He received piano lessons at the age of six. After that, at the age of twelve, he started playing drums and since the age of thirteen he has been performing in public. In the 1960s, Alan honed his craft in a variety of bands. These included The Downbeats, The Gamblers, Billy Fury, Alan Price Big Band, Bell and Arc, Terry Reid, Happy Magazine (later Griffin) and Balls with Trevor Burton (The Move) and Denny Laine (Wings). In 1968 Alan joined Ginger Baker’s Airforce, a new group put together by the former drummer of Cream and other well-known musicians from the English music scene, including Steve Winwood, formerly of Traffic.
In 1969, Alan received a phone call that he thought was a joke at the time, but it was John Lennon. He asked Alan to join the Plastic Ono Band. The next day he found himself in the back of a plane on his way to Toronto to record songs with Lennon, Yoko Ono, Eric Clapton and Klaus Voormann. The album that followed, “Live Peace In Toronto,” sold millions of copies and reached number 10 on the charts.
Alan’s collaboration with Lennon continued, recording singles such as “Instant Karma” and the groundbreaking album “Imagine” that followed, with Alan contributing drums on the title track, “Jealous Guy” and “How Do You Sleep at Night.” Alan’s work with Lennon led to an acquaintance with George Harrison, who asked him to contribute to the 1970 album “All Things Must Pass”, including the single “My Sweet Lord”. Subsequently, the musician worked with many artists for the Apple label, including Billy Preston, Rosetta Hightower and Doris Troy.
Alan joined Yes on July 27, 1972, and had only three days to learn the music. On July 30, 1972, Yes opened their US tour in front of 15,000 fans in Dallas, Texas. Alan has been with Yes ever since and is the band’s longest-serving member following the death of founding member Chris Squire in June 2015.
The drummer is survived by his parents Raymond and May White (née Thrower), his sister-in-law Mindi Hall, and many loyal furry companions. He is survived by his wife of forty years (May 15, 1982) Rogena ‘Gigi’ (née Walberg), his children Jesse (Emily), their two children JJ and Ellie and Cassi (Kela), and his sister-in-law Andrea Holmqvist (Robert).”
Yes dedicate their next tour to Alan White
White has repeatedly struggled with health issues in the past. When he spoke to ROLLING STONE three years ago, he hoped he would be able to play full shows with the band in the future.
“I had back surgery a few years ago,” he said. “Since then, I’ve been getting better and better, and I’m starting to play more and more. I’m doing pretty good right now, and I feel good every day. I’m making progress.”
Earlier this week, Yes announced that White would not participate in the upcoming “50th Anniversary Close To The Edge” U.K. tour due to health reasons. The band now plans to dedicate this tour to White.
Here is the statement from Alan White’s family