Alan White, beloved husband, dad, grandpa, and rock and roll drummer, passed away at the age of 72 at his Seattle-area home on Thursday May 26, 2022, after a brief illness. 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, including John & Yoko.
Alan was born in Pelton, County Durham, England on June 14, 1949. He began taking piano lessons at the age of six and playing drums at age twelve. Alan had been performing publicly since the age of thirteen. Throughout the 1960s, he honed his craft with a variety of bands, including The Downbeats, The Gamblers, Billy Fury, Alan Price Big Band, Bell and Arc, Terry Reid, Happy Magazine (later called Griffin), and Balls with Trevor Burton (The Move) and Denny Laine (Wings).
In 1968, Alan joined Ginger Baker’s Airforce, a new group that was put together by the former drummer of Cream and other noted musicians from England’s music scene including Steve Winwood, formerly of Traffic.
In 1969, Alan received what he thought at the time to be a prank phone call, but it was John Lennon calling to ask Alan to join the Plastic Ono Band. The next day Alan found himself learning songs in the back of an airliner heading to Toronto with Lennon, Yoko Ono, Eric Clapton, and Klaus Voormann. The ensuing album, “Live Peace in Toronto” album, sold in the millions, peaking at number 10 on the charts.
Alan’s association with Lennon continued, drumming on singles like ‘Instant Karma’ and the subsequent landmark album, “Imagine”, with Alan providing subtle drum patterns for the title song, plus ‘Jealous Guy’, and ‘How Do You Sleep”’. Alan’s work with Lennon led to an introduction to George Harrison, who asked Alan to play on his “All Things Must Pass” album, including drumming on the #1 hit single, ‘My Sweet Lord’, released in 1970. Alan subsequently worked with many artists for the Apple label, including Billy Preston, Rosetta Hightower, and Doris Troy.
Alan joined YES on July 27, 1972, and with only three days to learn the music, YES opened their US tour before 15,000 fans in Dallas, Texas on July 30, 1972. Alan has been with YES ever since, and with the passing of founding member, Chris Squire, in June of 2015, Alan was the longest continuously serving YES band member.
Alan is preceded in death 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 sister-in-law Andrea Holmqvist (Robert), Gigi, Jesse, and Cassi
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