Famed bands Yes and Depeche Mode lose members this week

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The progressive rock band Yes, and the music world at-large has lost a monumental performer. Alan White, the group’s longest-serving drummer, has died. His death was announced Thursday, May 26, 2022. According to numerous media outlets, White died after a brief illness.

Alan White and the legacy of Yes

At the time of his death, White had been a professional musician for almost 60 years, as reportedly his career started when he was just 13 years old. Aside from his time in Yes, White is also known for playing on John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

Yes’s discography dates back to July 1969 with a self-titled album. From there, Yes developed an international chart presence. By 1983, they had reached No. 1 on US charts with “Owner of a Lonely Heart.” The song was as gritty and straightforward a rock song as the progressive rockers had presented to audiences. The mix of the unforgettable guitar riff, coupled with White’s dynamic drumming, plus the lyrics about the conflicting nature of loneliness. “Owner of a Lonely Heart” can be found on the group’s album titled “90125.”

Throughout the 1970s, Yes charted with a number of singles that came to define the band’s sound during an era when progressive rock was finding audiences. One constant in Yes, was White’s drumming. Another constant was the late Chris Squire’s guitar work.

Yes recordings have an unmistakeable sound. Sometimes lilting, sometimes pounding, always rhythmic and unique – – rock fans always know when a Yes song is on. White and the other members of Yes created a sound that was unique even within the category of progressive rock. Yes was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017.

Andy Fletcher, founding member and keyboardist of Depeche Mode, dies at age 60

Also on Thursday, May 26, 2022, the pop music world was shocked to learn of the passing of Andy Fletcher, also known as “Fletch.” Rolling Stone has confirmed that the performer’s death was due to natural causes.

Fletcher’s surviving bandmates took to Twitter to share the news of his death and express their “shock” and “overwhelming sadness” at his passing. Fletcher had been a member of Depeche Mode since 1980. The group released their first album in 1981. The Depeche Mode sound can be distinguished foremother bands by the heavy use of keyboards.

Searing, heavy, and moody, the keyboards in a Depeche Mode song created atmosphere and tone. Songs such as “Just Can’t Get Enough,” People Are People,” “Strangelove,” “Walking In My Shoes,” “Everything Counts,” “Enjoy the Silence,” and “Policy of Truth” among many others, made the band a household name in the 1980s and 1990s. The storytelling, the danceable beats, the sometimes dark humor, coupled with Fletcher’s keyboards made Depeche Mode an integral part of New Wave music.

Fletcher’s death seems to mark an end of an era. He has played not only the band’s first release, but also its latest, 2017’s “Spirit,” and others in between, making 14 in total. Depeche Mode was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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