Entertainment

Alan Lancaster, founding member of Status Quo, dies age 72

Entertainment:

Alan Lancaster, the British-born rock legend and founding member of Status Quo, has died after a battle with multiple sclerosis.

His family confirmed the news saying Lancaster passed away at his Sydney home surrounded by loved ones. He was 72.

“We are all heartbroken,” Lancaster’s wife, Dayle, said in a statement.

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“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.”

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Alan Lancaster pictured alonside Status Quo bandmembers in Tokyo in 1975. (Koh Hasebe / Getty Images)

Entertainment reporter and close friend to Lancaster, Craig Bennett, broke the sad news on Facebook.

Bennett revealed the musician had been suffering with multiple sclerosis for some time.

“Despite having MS and issues with his mobility, Alan participated in hugely successful reunion tours in the UK & Europe in 2013 & 2014,” Bennett wrote.

“He bravely played to thousands of adoring fans..and loved being back with the band and his loyal Quo army.

“Vale to an absolute legend and one of the nicest people in rock and roll”.

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Statuo Quo founding member Alan Lancaster pictured at his Castle Hill home in Sydney in 1997
Alan Lancaster pictured at his Castle Hill home in Sydney in 1997. (Simon Alekna / Sun Herald Photo Archive)

Lancaster formed Status Quo in 1962 with Francis Rossi while they were still at school.

He continued performing with the group until 1985, with their final album Back to Back released in 1983.

Their break-through track ‘Pictures of Matchstick Men’ shot the group to stardom, with a string of catchy guitar-laden hits to follow.

The band garnered more than 60 chart hits in the UK and more than 100 singles over two decades.

The band went through various name changes, including a 1967 shift to The Status Quo after introducing Rick Parfitt to the lineup. They reverted back to Status Quo in 1969.

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Among the group’s career performance highlights was a slot on the bill for Live Aid in 1985. They took the stage alongside Queen, David Bowie, Elton John and U2.

April 2014: Alan Lancaster performs with Status Quo at the Civic Hall in Wolverhampton, UK.
April 2014: Alan Lancaster performs with Status Quo at the Civic Hall in Wolverhampton, UK. (Steve Thorne / Getty Images)

It would be the last time Lancaster performed with the group as a full-time member, though he would later reunite with fellow bandmates Rossi, Parfitt and John Coghaln in 2013 for a Status Quo tour across the UK. The tour concluded in Dublin in 2014.

Lancaster moved to his adoptive country of Australia in the 1980s, forming The Bombers with guitar legend John Brewster of The Angels’ fame.

November 1989: The Bombers featuring John Brewster, Alan Lancaster, Tyrone Coates, Steve Crofts, and Peter Heckenberg
November, 1989: The Bombers featuring John Brewster, Alan Lancaster, Tyrone Coates, Steve Crofts, and Peter Heckenberg. (Festival Records)

In 1987, he and Brewster both became temporary members of Australian rock band The Party Boys, heralding a new era for the supergroup.

The switch-up saw founding member and bass guitarist Paul Christie switch to drums so Lancaster could play bass.

Lancaster is survived by his wife Dayle, whom he married in 1978, their children Alan Jr, Toni and David, and grandchildren.

If you or anyone you know needs immediate support, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or via lifeline.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.

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