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Alan Lancaster, founding member and bassist for Status Quo, has died aged 72.
According to a social media post shared by Lancaster’s close friend, Craig Bennett, the British musician had been suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS) for some time. He died in Sydney, Australia.
“At the request of his loving and deeply cherished family, [I] am heartbroken to announce the passing of Alan Lancaster, British-born music royalty, guitar god and founding member of iconic band, Status Quo,” Bennett, an entertainment journalist, wrote on Facebook.
“Alan Lancaster passed away this morning [Sunday 26 September] at his Sydney home, surrounded by family.”
Born in Peckham, London in 1949, Lancaster formed Status Quo in 1962 with his then schoolmate, Francis Rossi. With classmates Alan Key (drums) and Jess Jaworski (keys), they formed The Scorpions, later renaming themselves The Spectres, with Key replaced by John Coghlan.
The group met future Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt while playing at a Butlins holiday camp in 1965, signing a record deal but failing to chart with any single releases. As Status Quo, they launched their career with “Pictures of Matchstick Men” and Lancaster continued to perform with the band until 1985, by which stage he had appeared on a total of 15 albums.
Status Quo have enjoyed more than 60 Top 40 hits in the UK, including 1979’s “Whatever You Want”.
As well as songwriting, Lancaster served as one of the lead vocalists on the rock band’s albums and at live concerts. He can be heard leading on songs including “Bye Bye Johnny” and “Roadhouse Blues”.
He reunited with Rossie, Parfitt and Coghlan for a string of reunion tours, playing his final show in Dublin in 2014.
Bennett described Lancaster as a “dear and special friend” who “loved his life in Australia”, where his mother and father, brother and sister had also moved to.
His wife of 43 years, Dayle Lancaster, said the family was “heartbroken”.
“Alan had a wonderful wit and a fabulously dry sense of humour. He was a devoted and adoring husband, father and grandfather,” she said, via Bennett. “Family was always his focus.”
Despite his illness, Lancaster took part in several Status Quo reunion tours around the UK and Europe in 2013 and 2014.
He is survived by his wife, his children Alan Jr, Toni and David, and five grandchildren.