Tuesday, May 29, 2007


On this day, at Hackney Hospital, 230 Homerton High Street, a whiter shade of pale emerged into the world. The Brookers named him Gary. A few decades later, he was known for a smash hit song that began, "We skipped the light fandango..." and after four decades, well, that's still what he's known for.

But Gary Brooker has done much more.

He's written the music(lyrics by Keith Reid) to some of the greatest R&B, Blues and Classical rock songs ever recorded, ranging from the crunching "Simple Sister" to the exotic "Conquistador" to the ambitious "Grand Hotel." He's been welcomed into Ringo Starr's All-Star Band and Bill Wyman's "Poor Boys," played on Eric Clapton albums and sung "Limelight" with the Alan Parsons Project. He's issued four solo albums (the first produced by George Martin). He's also been in movies from Madonna's "Evita" to the George Harrison Tribute (singing "Old Brown Shoe"). He began his career as lead singer of The Paramounts and is, of course, the enduring voice of Procol Harum.

Procol's next single after their "A Whiter Shade of Pale" debut, was "Homburg." While it didn't became a worldwide hit, it has fascinating lyrics (Gary once declared the song was about anti-semitism) and a typically melancholy yet heroic melody. Here's a version of it as performed live in Hamburg in 2003.
And here's a full Procol Harum concert from HELL, Norway!
Procol Concert

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