Happy Birthday to Alan Charles Lancaster – born February 7, 1949!
Alan Charles Lancaster is an English bassist, best known as a founding member of the English rock band Status Quo. As well as contributing to songwriting, he was also one of the lead vocalists on albums and live concerts taking the lead on tracks such as “Backwater”, “Bye Bye Johnny”, “High Flyer” and “Roadhouse Blues”, etc.
Alan Lancaster formed the group in 1962 with his then schoolmate Francis Rossi. His final performance as a full-time member of Status Quo was at Wembley Stadium on 13 July 1985 for the opening of Live Aid. In March 2013 he collaborated with his old bandmates for a series of “Frantic Four” concerts in the UK.
Born in Peckham in 1949, in the 2012 Status Quo documentary Hello Quo, Lancaster stated that he had a great upbringing. He attended Sedgehill Comprehensive School, where he met future “Quo” frontman Francis Rossi in the school orchestra. Rossi and Lancaster became close friends and, along with other schoolmates John Key and Jess Jaworski, formed the band “The Scorpions” – an early Quo forerunner.
While Lancaster was attending Sedgehill Comprehensive School in 1962, he became close friends with future Status Quo singer and guitarist Francis Rossi while playing in the school orchestra. The two, along with other classmates Alan Key (drums) and Jess Jaworski (keyboards), formed a band called “The Scorpions”, who played their first gig at the Samuel Jones Sports Club in Dulwich. At another gig at the sports club, manager Pat Barlow approached the band, and Lancaster’s mother agreed to let him manage the band. Key was later replaced by Air Cadets drummer and future “Quo” member John Coghlan, and the band was renamed “The Spectres”. The Spectres wrote their own material and played live shows, and in 1965 they played at a Butlins holiday camp in Minehead. It was here that the band met future “Quo” guitarist Rick Parfitt, who was playing as part of a cabaret act called “The Highlights”. The band became close friends with Parfitt, and they agreed to continue working together. In 1966, The Spectres signed a five-year deal with Piccadilly Records, releasing three singles that failed to chart. The group again changed their name, this time to “Traffic Jam”, after embracing psychedelia.
Status Quo (1967-85)
Following “Live Aid”, Lancaster’s relationship with Francis Rossi became increasingly strained, when Rossi and Rick Parfitt covertly began recording a new album under the name of “Status Quo”. Unbeknownst to Lancaster — by now living in Australia – and the group’s then recording company, Rossi had utilised the assistance of the group’s then manager, to draw down on the group’s contracted recording advances, provided by Phonogram Limited. Lancaster was substituted with session musician John ‘Rhino’ Edwards, who had been recording on a solo project of Rick’s – “Recorded Delivery” – which was eventually scrapped. Edwards remains Quo’s bassist to this day.