Alan Rankine of The Associates Dies at 64

Alan Rankine, co-founder of Scottish pop band The Associates, died Monday at 64.

The news was first reported by both the BBC and The Guardian after a Facebook post by the multi-instrumentalist’s’ two sons began circulating on the social network. “Callum and Hamish’s message say it all,” Rankine’s ex-wife Belinda Henderson (nee Pearse) wrote to share the sad news. “‘It’s with great sadness that my brother, Hamish, and I announce the passing of our father, Alan Rankine. 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. Callum & Hamish Rankine.'”


Formed in 1979 by Rankine and singer Billy McKenzie, The Associates initially became known throughout their native Scotland thanks to their unauthorized cover of David Bowie’s “Boys Keep Swinging.” After the rendition got them signed to Fiction Records, the duo released their debut studio set The Affectionate Punch in 1980 and became integral in Britain’s New Pop movement. A follow-up compilation titled Fourth Drawer Down arrived the following year and eventually, the band released three more albums: 1982’s Sulk, 1985’s Perhaps and 1990’s Wild and Lonely — though Rankine left the band on the precipice of touring around the final album.

Though none of The Associates’ music broke through on the Billboard charts over the course of their career, though Fourth Drawer Down reached No. 5 on the U.K. Independent Albums Chart and Sulk peaked at No. 23 on the U.K.’s Official Albums Chart thanks to the popularity of its singles “Party Fears Two” and “Club Country.”

Later in his life, Rankine worked as a producer for artists like Cocteau Twins, Paul Haig and The Pale Fountains. He also released a trio of solo albums including The World Begins to Look Her Age in 1986, She Loves Me Not in 1987 and The Big Picture Sucks in 1989.

Read the news of Rankine’s death below.

Glenn Rowley