The Associates co-founder Alan Rankine dies aged 64

Alan Rankine, co-founder of Scottish band The Associates, has died aged 64.

The guitarist and keyboard player’s sons Callum and Hamish announced the news in a statement on Tuesday, according to reports.

“He died peacefully at home shortly after spending Christmas with his family,” they said.

“He was a beautiful, kind and loving man who will be sorely missed.”

The official Twitter page of the band also reshared a tribute to Rankine by music record company BMG, who have been reissuing the group’s classic albums in recent years.

It read: “We are shocked to hear of the loss of Alan Rankine, co-founder of @_theassociates_, one of Scotland’s most revered musical duos.

“His music was a dazzling contrast to everything around at the time and still remains utterly unique.”

Rankine co-founded The Associates with singer Billy Mackenzie in the late 1970s after the pair met in Edinburgh.

Their debut single was a cover of David Bowie’s Boys Keep Swinging, recorded without copyright permission weeks after the original’s release.

Mackenzie later admitted they had intended the stunt to get them noticed, and it worked, securing them a recording contract and radio play.

The duo were joined by bassist Michael Dempsey and drummer John Murphy and released a series of singles through which they developed their unorthodox studio technique and subversive aesthetic.

The track Kitchen Person saw them use the neck of a vacuum cleaner to amplify their instruments, and they appeared on Top Of The Pops brandishing chocolate guitars.

Their commercial breakthrough came in 1982 with the release of the single Party Fears Two, which reached number nine in the UK singles charts.

After three albums, The Affectionate Punch (1980), singles collection Fourth Drawer Down (1981) and Sulk (1982), Rankine left the band on the eve of a tour.

Mackenzie continued to operate as The Associates while Rankine established himself as a producer and worked with artists including Cocteau Twins and Paul Haig.

He released a string of solo albums and later lectured at Stow College in Glasgow, where he helped students found their own in-house record label Electric Honey, used by bands including Snow Patrol and Biffy Clyro.

In 2010 he returned to music production.

Liverpool-formed electronica group Ladytron were among those paying tribute.