Alan White, drummer for Yes and John Lennon, has died aged 72

White also played with numerous other artists including George Harrison

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Alan White, who was the long-time drummer in Yes, has died, aged 72.

His family confirmed the news on Facebook on 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.”

White was also a member of John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band, having been recruited by Lennon 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:

This is a developing story – more to follow

Originally published on NME

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