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.
Yes drummer Alan White slips away. From Bill:
Alan was a proper Geordie – steady, powerful, no nonsense, probably...
Posted by Bill Bruford on Friday, May 27, 2022
RIP Alan White. A hugely influential yet an often under appreciated drummer. Most know him for his stellar work with…
Posted by Glen Sobel on Friday, May 27, 2022
Ugh, another stinger to add to the day, this one is more personal =(
I was just informed we lost the great Alan White,…
Posted by Jeff Scott Soto on Thursday, May 26, 2022
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.
Posted by Brian Wilson on Friday, May 27, 2022
I am so very sorry to hear of the passing of Alan White… he was an incredible drummer, and he played an influential…
Posted by John Lodge on Thursday, May 26, 2022
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!
Posted by Foghat on Thursday, May 26, 2022
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…
Posted by Brian Tichy on Friday, May 27, 2022
One of the great drummers Alan White of Yes has passed away. 18 February 1974 I watched Alan at Madison square garden...
Posted by Steve Stevens on Thursday, May 26, 2022