A number of well-known musicians from around the world have taken to social media to pay tribute to YES drummer Alan White, who died yesterday (Thursday, May 26) after a short illness. He was 72.
The musician, born in County Durham, England, passed away in the United States, his family said in a statement shared on his Facebook page.
“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,” the statement read.
“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.”
White‘s YES bandmates said in a statement that they were “shocked and stunned” by news of his death, adding that he had been looking forward to celebrating his 50th anniversary with the band on a U.K. tour. They said they will dedicate their “Close To The Edge” U.K. tour in June to their “much-loved drummer.”
White‘s former YES bandmate Rick Wakeman wrote on Twitter: “I was so sad to hear about the passing of Alan yesterday. He was such a gentle soul… except when behind his drum kit where he was so powerful and creative. I will miss you brother.”
Artist and activist Yoko Ono, who was married to the late John Lennon and worked with White in the PLASTIC ONO BAND, remembered him as a “wonderful drummer who was an essential part of the sound of Imagine, Instant Karma! and more recordings.” She added: “He was always gentle, kind & good humored. We were blessed he was part of our family.”
White recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of his marriage to his loving wife Gigi.
Alan was born in 1949 in County Durham. A number of health setbacks, since 2016, had restricted Alan‘s time on stage with YES on recent tours with Jay Schellen filling in and Alan joining the band, to great applause, towards the end of each set.
Alan was considered to be one of the greatest rock drummers of all time and joined YES in 1972 for the “Close To The Edge” tour. He had previously worked with John Lennon‘s PLASTIC ONO BAND after a call, in 1969, to play at the Toronto Rock Festival. Alan continued working with Lennon including on the “Imagine” album and with George Harrison on “All Things Must Pass”. He also worked with several other musicians, over the years, including Ginger Baker‘s AIR FORCE, Joe Cocker, Gary Wright, Doris Troy and Billy Preston, to name but a few. Alan White was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame as a member of YES in 2017.
Formed in 1968 by Jon Anderson and the late and much-missed Chris Squire, YES has been one of the most innovative, influential and best-loved bands in rock music history. Their 1970s albums “The Yes Album”, “Fragile”, “Close To The Edge”, “Yessongs” (a triple live album set),“Tales From Topographic Oceans”, “Relayer” and “Going For The One” were ground-breaking in musical style and content. Their music also became synonymous with artist Roger Dean, whose distinctive YES logo design and artwork adorned the lavish gatefold presentation sleeves of many YES albums.
With sales of over 50 million records, the Grammy Award-winning YES was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2017, where they performed “Roundabout” from the album “Fragile” and the FM radio-friendly “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” from the 1985 album “90125”.
In 2021, YES released its 22nd studio album, “The Quest”, produced by Steve Howe, which went to No. 1 in the U.K. rock chart and entered the official U.K. album chart at No. 20.
I’m sad to hear the news of Alan White’s passing. He was a lovely person and a terrific drummer. My thoughts go out to his wife Gigi and to everyone in Yes.
— Steve Hackett (@HackettOfficial) May 27, 2022
Aw man what a day –
first Ray Liotta and now Alan White.
I’ll listen to Lennon’s “Imagine” album tonight in his honor – and then watch Goodfellas.
RIP gentlemen, condolences to the families/friends. https://t.co/2II45g0Epd
— Steve Conte (@SteveConteNYC) May 27, 2022
Dear friend & incredible drummer Alan White has left us way too soon. He was one of the most down to earth people I’ve known. When you next hear “Imagine” or “Jealous Guy” by John think of Alan as you hear his masterful playing. And all his wonderful work with Yes. RIP❤️
— Peter Frampton (@peterframpton) May 26, 2022
You get a text telling you that Alan White, the iconic YES drummer has passed on, then open up Twitter, only to find that actor Ray Liotta has ALSO died. What’s THAT LIKE?! Can SOMEBODY tell me what The Actual F*ck is Going ON right now?!! 🌹🌹R.I.P.
— Vernon Reid (@vurnt22) May 26, 2022
Alan was a good friend and he will be missed by us all. I have been on many tours with Alan over the years. I will miss our chats and most of all I will miss him. My thoughts and love go out to all his family.
Photo from 2017… pic.twitter.com/H9Azty7vQi
— Carl Palmer (@ELP_carl) 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
Today I lost a great brother and friend, the loveliest guy you’ll ever hope to meet. So dreadfully sad. I’m devastated. Here’s us 42 years ago posing with his Bentley. Alan White, the main man. Miss you forever buddy. X pic.twitter.com/1s9MGzNz5b
— Geoffrey Downes (@asiageoff) May 26, 2022
Shocked and saddened to hear of the death of an old friend ALAN WHITE drummer of YES, John Lennon, Plastic Ono Band and many others. RIP Alan and condolences to his wife Gigi, also his family and friends around Seattle. pic.twitter.com/rGFZeS9Tv5
— THE CHRIS SLADE TIMELINE (@SladeTimeline) May 26, 2022
Totally shocked by this tragic news. What a nice person and phenomenal drummer he was. My most sincere condolences to his family, band, and friends. https://t.co/CJSMgeIW7J
— Todd La Torre (@ToddLaTorre) May 26, 2022
I was so sad to hear about the passing of Alan yesterday. He was such a gentle soul…except when behind his drum kit where he was so powerful and creative. I will miss you brother
— Rick Wakeman CBE (@GrumpyOldRick) May 27, 2022
Alan White was a wonderful drummer who was an essential part of the sound of ‘Imagine’, ‘Instant Karma!’ & more recordings. He was always gentle, kind & good humoured. We were blessed he was part of our family.
Love & condolences to Gigi, Jesse & Cassi White; JJ, Ellie & Andrea. pic.twitter.com/yrNFh0PQmy
— Yoko Ono ☮️🏳️ (@yokoono) May 26, 2022
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 🙏 #RIPAlanWhitepic.twitter.com/CU6RxAG4QU
— Mike Portnoy 🤘 (@MikePortnoy) May 26, 2022
Still heartbroken over the passing of Alan White. Here’s a classic photo of Transatlantic hanging out at “Club Yes” w Alan & Chris Squire while on tour in Germany back in 2001. White-Fish are finally reunited & jamming together again in R&R Heaven 🙏 #RIPAlanWhite#RIPChrisSquirepic.twitter.com/re11Fx2Oj0
— Mike Portnoy 🤘 (@MikePortnoy) May 27, 2022
Yes drummer Alan White slips away. From Bill:
Alan was a proper Geordie – steady, powerful, no nonsense, probably…
RIP Alan White. A hugely influential yet an often under appreciated drummer. Most know him for his stellar work with…
Ugh, another stinger to add to the day, this one is more personal =(
I was just informed we lost the great Alan White,…
Thinking of drummer Alan White, who passed away yesterday. Alan played in the progressive rock band Yes and was featured on John Lennon’s “Imagine,” among countless other recordings.
I am so very sorry to hear of the passing of Alan White… he was an incredible drummer, and he played an influential…
We are sad to hear of the passing of Alan White. What a great, great drummer. Our thoughts are with his family, bandmates, and friends. RIP Alan!
RIP Alan White! While Alan left us with so much great drumming, this is some of my fave from him! What a sound! What a…