The Associates’ Alan Rankine Dies at 64

The Associates’ Alan Rankine Dies at 64

Rankine also produced for Cocteau Twins and was integral to Electric Honey, the label that brought the world Belle and Sebastian

The Associates Alan Rankine

The Associates’ Alan Rankine, September 1980 (David Corio/Redferns)

Alan Rankine, the co-founder of the Scottish band the Associates, has died at the age of 64, BBC News reports. A cause of death has not been revealed.

Rankine met the singer Billy Mackenzie in the 1970s, and they formed a duo called the Ascorbic Ones. They changed their name to Mental Torture before settling on the Associates. As the Associates, Rankine and Mackenzie released their debut single in 1979, a cover of David Bowie’s “Boys Keep Swinging.” The song helped them land a deal with Fiction Records, which issued the band’s 1980 debut, The Affectionate Punch; the Cure’s Robert Smith sang backing vocals on the LP. The group followed its debut with a singles compilation, Fourth Drawer Down, in 1981 and a sophomore effort, Sulk, in 1982. Sulk was a critical and commercial success and proved to be Rankine’s final album with the Associates, as he left the band shortly after the record’s release.

After leaving the Associates, Alan Rankine produced music for Cocteau Twins, Paul Haig, Anna Domino, and others. He released the first of his three solo studio albums, The World Begins to Look Her Age, in 1986. Eventually, Rankine taught at Stow College in Glasgow. At Stow, Rankine helped launch Electric Honey, a label meant to teach students about releasing and promoting their music. The label’s first true success was Belle and Sebastian’s Tigermilk, and Electric Honey would go on to issue music by Biffy Clyro, Snow Patrol, and more.

Without Rankine, the Associates released two more albums, 1985’s Perhaps and 1990’s Wild and Lonely. The Associates effectively disbanded after their final album, but Rankine and Billy Mackenzie reconvened in 1993 to try to record new material. The reunion was short-lived, and Mackenzie died in 1997. Demos of the reunion tracks were included on the Associates’ 2000 compilation, Double Hipness.

Rankine has been memorialized by BMX Bandits’ Duglas T. Stewart, electronic musician Robin Rimbaud, Scottish indie band Trashcan Sinatras, and more.


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