Procol Harum

British rock band Procol Harum will forever be known for the hit single “A Whiter Shade of Pale”, the mammoth symphonic rock hit which fused Matthew Fisher's playing of a Bach melody with Gary Brooker's moody, soulful vocals and lyricist Keith Reid's darkly mysterious lyrics. Procol Harum originally emerged from Southend band The Paramounts, which featured Brooker and guitarist Robin Trower - who had a small hit in 1964 with “Poison Ivy” - but split in 1966 when Brooker started collaborating with organist Fisher and songwriter Reid. The group created a stir with their debut single, “A White Shade of Pale”, which made the Top 5 in the US but rose to Number 1 in the UK, Canada, and Australia. While Procol Harum never released a record as successful as“A White Shade of Pale”, they released a series of albums that were embraced by the rock community including Shine On Brightly (1968), A Salty Dog (1969), and Grand Hotel (1973). After various personnel changes, Procol Harum split in 1977, but reformed in 1991 with Brooker, Fisher, Trower, and Reid working on comeback album titled The Prodigal Stranger. It triggered a return to live performance and, with Brooker the one constant in a changing line-up, they continued to perform sporadically through the 2000s, with UK and European tours. In 2017, the 50th anniversary of the band's formation, they announced a special concert at the Royal Festival Hall in London. During the show Brooker fell, injuring his head, but he returned to the stage to finish the gig. A full UK tour followed later in the year. with UK and European tours. Procol Harum returned in 2018 with a European tour followed by a 2019 Caribbean cruise which was hosted by The Moody Blues' Justin Hayward. Lead singer Gary Brooker died of cancer on February 19, 2022, at the age of 76.

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