It is with great sadness that I join with the other members of Yes to acknowledge the passing of our dearest friend and drummer, Alan White.
He gave so many of his best years to the band and was a true believer and determined professional til the very end.
Being a kind and loving human being just came naturally to him, with his mellow, non-confrontational personality and abundant generosity, which made him so popular with his friends and everyone he met.
With our deep condolences, we send our love and thoughts to his wife Gigi, their children and grandchildren.
Jon & Janee Anderson
Dear Alan. My best man at my wedding to Janee in Maui 1997
We love you and will miss you
You were just the best of the best for Yes and wonderful soul...
We wrote Turn of the Century together all those years ago, just one of so many wonderful times together...
And now you’re in heaven...resting after the long journey Home to meet your dear Mom...and Chris of course
I was in the studio recording some keyboard parts for the upcoming album when I heard the desperately sad news that we had lost Alan.
I stopped work immediately and spent the rest of the day mulling over great recollections of the times we spent together, both musically and socially.
During the Going For The One tour, Alan and I were besotted with racquetball and bought the finest racquets we could and before arriving in each city, would organise 2-3 hours at a club to play before heading off, seemingly fitter (but also somewhat knackered) to soundcheck.
I remember him proudly introducing me to his Mum, who adored him and he, her. He lived in Seattle for many years with his beautiful wife Gigi, Jesse and Cassie but a large part of him remained in the North East, including his accent, which never faltered!
On our travels, we talked football, cars and musicians we had both worked with and Chris Squire's appalling time-keeping!
Alan and Chris arguably formed one of the finest bass and drums pairing in the history of rock 'n roll, if not the finest.
I thank you Alan for the great memories you have left me.
Heartfelt condolences to Gigi, Cassie and Jesse who have lost such a great husband and father.
I am deeply saddened by the passing of Alan White.
Alan and I had a special and lasting bond of friendship that originated during the creative process of the making of the album “Relayer”.
After 1976 and the years that followed whenever Alan and I had the opportunity to get together we would reflect upon the innovative music we had all made together as “YES”.
One of the things that I especially liked about Alan was that he was never afraid to explore, fresh, original and unfamiliar sonic territories.
It was a creatively rewarding, thoroughly enjoyable and therefore most memorable time of life for us, that remained etched on our very souls. In addition to being one of the very best drummers in the world, Alan was authentically a kind and caring human being.
My wife Phyllis and I send our heartfelt condolences to Alan’s dear wife Gigi, their children and grandchildren.
RIP Alan With Love Always
Today I lost a great brother and friend, the loveliest guy you’ll ever hope to meet. So dreadfully sad. I’m devastated. Miss you forever buddy.
Alan was a proper Geordie -- steady, powerful, no nonsense, probably didn’t really like the frilly bits. He took over the reins in Yes at short notice after I moved on, and by all accounts, didn’t make a fuss when he had to learn the band’s repertoire in about three days.
As different men from different backgrounds with quite different styles, we had come to drumming from pretty much opposite ends of the spectrum. I quite liked the frilly bits. Geordies don’t like talking about anything very much, so our mutual respect went unspoken. I know he loved the heck out of ‘Close to the Edge’ as, indeed, did I.
Aside from the sadness, there is something extraordinarily poetic that his life should have come to an end exactly 50 years after he picked up the sticks and gave his all to the band he came to love. He’ll be forever remembered through his contribution to drumming inside and outside of Yes. My heart goes out to Gigi and all Alan’s family.
It’s with the heaviest of hearts that I had to write the following: I’m devastated with the loss of our beloved AW (as we fondly called him). My heart is breaking for Gigi and the entire White family.
I first met Alan somewhere back in 1988/89. Long before I started playing bass I was a drummer. Alan was my inspirational North Star and remains my favorite drummer. I first saw him playing live with YES in 1977, it was the Going For The One tour. As I watched in awe I took care-full notice of his attire -- 'Stan Smith' tennis shoes, wrist bands, head band etc -- the next day I went out and got those same items, in hopes I could channel the magic that came from his playing. That spirit has never left me, it lives in me now and always will.
When I first joined Yes in the 90s, I would always be able to confide in Alan, he would be there like a big brother, reassuring me no matter what would happen he and I would have a special un breakable bond and remain in each other’s lives somehow, from ski-ing in the alps together to continuing on with the YES rhythm section after Chris sadly passed, AW was someone I could always turn to when I needed a shoulder to lean on.
I have so many fond memories of my relationship with the man I worshipped, respected and came to love like a brother. I’ve never lost that feeling despite life’s twists and turns, which are many. Losing Chris was so very hard for me-- this is just as difficult to process, perhaps even harder as AW was the first hero in my musical journey. I loved Alan and always will. Rest In Peace my brother Love you always
Feeling shattered and heartbroken over the loss of my friend, my cornerstone, our beloved band mate Alan White.
Alan was love, and so loved
My heart goes out with all my love, my condolences and prayers to Gigi, Cassie, Jesse and family
Alan White was always my guy, my visceral influence in developing my musicianship. His swing, his power, his expression, like no other spoke to me.
I was so fortunate to meet Alan early in my career and grateful to become close friends during my years in the YES family performing variously with Tony, Peter, Chris, Geoff and Billy.
Alan, his wry smile and gregarious, adventurous manner was always encouraging, so supportive, fun, and above all inspiring. We shared a lot in common and had lots of laughs.
His call to me in 2016 meant the world to me. I don’t have the words to describe how its touched me, changed me. I’ve learned so much by his side, sharing the stage and family that is YES.
Alan will forever be in my heart, in my hands and feet, in my thoughts and prayers. I love you Alan and I will never forget all of your life lessons.
I heard the very sad new about the passing of Alan White earlier today from the Yes management. I’ve been thinking about him a lot today. I’ll post something soon about my memories of working with Alan in Yes. Dad and I spoke earlier to talk about Alan too.
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.
I’m very sad to hear of Alan White’s passing. He was a good friend, a wonderful man, an amazing musician and a pivotal member of Yes for forty years. My thoughts are very much with his wife Gigi and family, and all the members of Yes. Warmest wishes to all.
Alan White was a wonderful drummer who was an essential part of the sound of ‘Imagine’, ‘Instant Karma!’ and many more recordings. He was always gentle, kind and good humoured. We were blessed he was part of our family. Sending much love and condolences to Gigi, Jesse and Cassi White; JJ, Ellie and Andrea.
There are a lot of great musicians, but it's a elite club which boasts greatness and genuine kindness combined. White played with the power of a Giant and lived life with the compassion of a Buddha. He created the iconic drumming on Lennon's "Instant Karma", then with three days of rehearsal learned all of YES' show to go out and tour the Close To The Edge album. His performances on Yessongs, Topographic, Relayer and subsequent albums made it clear he was the perfect replacement for Bruford. After years of playing CTTE and the other songs from Fragile and The Yes Album, he was gracious enough to gift a considerable amount of money back to Bill Bruford, who was the original drummer on those albums. He did not have to do this -- he simply did it because he felt it was the right thing to do. Alan and his wife Gigi were always sweet and easy to talk to. We last saw them in person when they sat with friends and watched BRAND X play on Cruise To The Edge 2019. He told us "That's some good stuff -- I rather enjoyed that." Everyone in the Brand X family genuinely admired him as a person. Good Lord -- he put up with Chris Squire for over 40 years!!! What other drummer could've done that? The sentiments and sincere emotions towards Alan are all the same from all of us here, including our good friends like Andre C and David Maida who knew and worked with Alan. As sweet and sincere a person as you could ever meet -- especially in this business of music. We were all so fortunate to see him play throughout the years, and so especially fortunate to have spent time in his personal company. A true talent and a true gentleman. ***May God Bless You and all your family Alan***
Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater)
Absolutely stunned to wake up to the news of Alan White’s passing. Obviously his playing with Yes for the past 50 years was a massive influence on me, but also his playing with both John Lennon and George Harrison was as well. Over the past 30 years or so, I’ve had the honour to become friends with him, touring and spending much time together. My deepest condolences go out to his wife Gigi, his family and everybody in the Yes camp.
John Lodge (The Moody Blues)
I am so very sorry to hear of the passing of Alan White… he was an incredible drummer, and he played an influential part in rock n roll history. We had such a fantastic summer together on the Royal Affair Tour. Being on stage to sing Imagine with Yes and with Alan on drums was a very special moment I will always remember. My sincere condolences go out to Gigi, his family, and everyone in his extended Yes family.
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.
Gary Kemp (Spandau Ballet)
RIP the great Alan White.
Vernon Reid (Living Colour)
For true Yes fans, this is a devastating day.
Questlove (The Roots)
Damn, man. So many legends passing away. Thank you Alan White.
Chris Slade (ex-AC/DC)
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.
Mike Scott (The Waterboys)
Travel on well, Alan White RIP. You played one of the greatest drum performances of all time on Instant Karma.
Annie Haslam (Renaissance)
Apart from being an extraordinary creative drummer he was a lovely down to earth man. I met him on many occasions at the Yes shows I attended and he was warm and friendly. My heart and prayers go out to his wife and family and all members of Yes that he 'touched' with his spirit over the years. God Bless you Alan, you will live on in the music of Yes.
Steve Stevens (Billy Idol)
One of the great drummers Alan White of Yes has passed away. 18 February 1974 I watched Alan at Madison square garden NYC absolutely make that place levitate with energy. The world beyond just got one of the great rhythm sections of Squire and White.
Alan White was the rock-solid heartbeat of YES (official): a virtuoso drummer and gifted songwriter who made indelible contributions to music history and influenced countless fellow musicians. When Alan joined YES 50 years ago, he had to learn the band’s entire tour repertoire in just three days before they hit the road -- a momentous achievement that reflected the highest level of artistry that he maintained throughout his career. He cemented his Rock & Roll Hall of Fame legacy with numerous gold and platinum YES albums on Atlantic and Atco, while playing thousands of shows around the world across five decades. The Warner Music Family is mourning Alan’s passing and are sending our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, and bandmates as well as his multitude of his fans. Rest In Peace, Alan.
We're heartbroken to hear the news on the passing of Ludwig artist and drumming icon Alan White. Our deepest sympathy and condolences go out to all his friends and family. He was such a gift to the music community and we cherish his 40 years of support of Ludwig drums. He will be sorely missed.
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.
Alan is considered to be one of the greatest rock drummers of all time. He was born in 1949 in County Durham and joined YES on 30th July 1972 for the Close to the Edge Tour. He had previously worked with John Lennon’s Plastic Ono band after a phone 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.
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.
YES will dedicate their 50th Anniversary Close to the Edge UK Tour in June to White.
“We’d like to thank YES (official) for creating this loving tribute to Alan, which will be shown at the beginning of each show on their current tour. To everyone involved with Yes—the band members, past and present, the amazing road crew, and everyone in management—you’ve become part of our extended family. Our heartfelt thanks to Jerry and Lois Photography who’ve always captured the essence of Alan with their photography. Also many thanks to Paul Secord, Alan’s webmaster, for his constant and continued support in providing whatever is needed. We are forever grateful for your love and friendship.