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Former Status Quo bassist Alan Lancaster dead at 72

Alan Lancaster in 2012
(Image credit: Kevin Nixon)

Former Status Quo bassist Alan Lancaster has died at the age of 72.

The news was broken by Australian broadcaster Craig Bennett, who wrote on Facebook (opens in new tab), "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. 

"Alan Lancaster passed away this morning at his Sydney home, surrounded by family. Alan had been dealing with Multiple Sclerosis. He was 72. Status Quo began Rockin’ All Over The World in 1967. The legendary band amassed decades of hit songs, including Down Down and Whatever You Want. Alan married his beautiful wife Dayle Lancaster in 1978. They met when Alan and Status Quo, along with Slade and Lindisfarne, toured Australia in 1973. 

"Alan, who was a dear and special friend, is survived by Dayle, his children Alan Jr, Toni and David, plus five grandchildren. Dayle said this morning that Alan loved his life in Australia. His mother and father, plus his brother and sister also moved to Australia. Dayle said: ‘we are all heartbroken. Alan had a wonderful wit and a fabulously dry sense of humour. He was a devoted and adoring husband, father and grandfather. Family was always his focus.’ 

"Despite having MS and issues with his mobility, Alan participated in hugely successful reunion tours in the UK & Europe in 2013 and 2014. He bravely played to thousands of adoring fans... and loved being back with the band and his loyal Quo army."

Lancaster was born in Peckham in South London in 1949. He met future Quo frontman Francis Rossi at school and the two formed a band, The Scorpions, in 1962. After adding drummer John Coghlan they became The Spectres, and when guitarist Rick Parfitt joined the band in 1967 the line-up began to solidify, although it would take another three years, two more name changes and the departure of keyboardist Roy Lines before the classic "Frantic Four" line-up of Status Quo began to hit their stride.

Lancaster anchored Status Quo on their most successful albums, a run that included Piledriver, Hello!, Quo, On the Level, Blue for You, Rockin' All Over the World, If You Can't Stand the Heat..., Whatever You Want, Just Supposin' and Never Too Late in the decade between 1972 and 1981. 

He departed the band after completing the band's End Of The Road tour in 1984 and the following year's brief appearance as the opening act at Live Aid, but would return as the Frantic Four line-up reformed for a series of shows in 2013 and 2014. 

Two years later he told Australia's Studio 10: “It was a cocaine thing that broke Status Quo up. Cocaine was endemic in the business around the time. It makes you feel as if you’re better than everybody else, superior. I think that’s when we started to lose our brotherhood.

"Once John went it was easy to start getting rid of us. And it’s all to do with money as well – once one member leaves you make more money if you don’t pay them."  

After leaving Status Quo Lancaster formed The Bombers - with Coghlan behind the drum kit - who released one album, Aim High, in 1989. He went on to play in The Lancaster Brewster Band with Angels guitarist John Brewster, and with Alan Lancaster's Bombers.    

Rick Parfitt died in 2016

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 36 years in music industry, online for 23. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.