Alan Rankine of The Associates passes away at 64

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

Alan Rankine in 1980. Credit David CorioRedferns.

Rankine’s sons Callum and Hamish confirmed the news on Facebook today, January 3, announcing he died peacefully at home shortly after spending Christmas with his family. 

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

Rankine formed The Associates with singer Billy Mackenzie in the late 1970s and the band went on to release three albums. The Affectionate Punch arrived in 1980, Fourth Drawer Down in 1981, before Sulk in 1982.

Rankine left the band in 1982, moving into producing and working with the Cocteau Twins, before launching his own solo career in 1986. 

He went on to lecture at Glasgow’s Stow College, helping students there set up the Electric Honey record, which was, in turn, to help launch the careers of some of Scotland’s best 21st century bands, including Belle & Sebastian, Snow Patrol and Biffy Clyro.

Grant McPhee, a director who featured Rankine in his 2015 Scottish post-punk documentary Big Gold Dream, called the musician a “true one-off maverick genius.”

Speaking to BBC Scotland, he said: “[Rankine] had an innate understanding of feel for a project, which can be clearly heard in the wonderful music he made.

“He also is probably the most naturally-gifted musician I’ve ever had the pleasure to speak to, and certainly one of the all-time greats.

“Kindness is a skill that is rare and Alan had that in abundance to his prodigious musical and storytelling talents.”

Header Image Credit: David Corio/Redferns.

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