Procol Harum

Procol Harum was an English symphonic-rock band that released nine studio albums between 1967 and 1977. Functioning for most of its existence as a quintet with a non-performing lyricist, the band played a pivotal role in rock’s maximalist trajectory by recording the world’s first side-long multi-movement suite, “In Held ‘Twas in I,” in 1968.

Members: Gary Brooker (vocals, piano), Keith Reid (lyrics, 1967-2012), Matthew Fisher (organ, vocals, 1967-69, 1991-2004), David Knights (bass, 1967-69), Ray Royer (guitar, 1967), Bobby Harrison (drums, 1967), Robin Trower (guitar, vocals, 1967-71, 1991), B.J. Wilson (drums, 1967-77), Chris Copping (bass, organ, 1969-77), Dave Ball (guitar, 1971-72), Alan Cartwright (bass, 1972-76), Mick Grabham (guitar, 1972-77), Pete Solley (organ, 1977), Tim Renwick (guitar, 1977, 1991), Dee Murray (bass, 1977)

The Paramounts

Procol Harum had its roots in The Paramounts, an R&B–beat combo from Southend-on-Sea, Essex, that featured singer–keyboardist Gary Brooker (1945–2022), guitarist Robin Trower (b. 1945), drummer B. J. Wilson (1947–1990), and bassist Chris Copping (b. 1945). They cut six singles between 1963 and 1965 on Parlophone.

The Paramounts evolved from The Raiders, a rock ‘n’ roll band formed in 1959 by Robin and his older brother, singer Mick Trower. In 1960, Brooker joined as their pianist and then assumed the vocal slot. They established a residency at the Shades Club, a Southend haunt (owned by the Trower’s father) where they befriended fellow up-and-comers like singer Graham Bradly and beatsters The Orioles (with guitarist Mickey Jupp).

A: “Poison Ivy”
B: “I Feel Good All Over”

A: “Little Bitty Pretty One”
B: “A Certain Girl”

A: “I’m The One Who Loves You”
B: “It Won’t Be Long”

A: “Bad Blood”
B: “Do I”

A: “Blue Ribbons”
B: “Cuttin’ In”

A: “You Never Had It So Good”
B: “Don’t Ya Like My Love?”

The Paramounts folded in 1966 as Brooker moved into songwriting.


In 1967, Brooker teamed with non-performing lyricist Keith Reid, who had recently collaborated with French singer Michel Polnareff. Brooker and Reid assembled Procol Harum as a studio project to record their composition “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” an organ-laden soul-rock ballad with quotes of Bach (Orchestral Suite N° 3 in D Major) and echoes of Percy Sledge (“When a Man Loves a Woman.”) For the recording, Brooker enlisted organist Matthew Fisher, guitarist Ray Royer, bassist David Knights, and session drummer Bill Eyden.

The name Procol Harum was chosen by their manager, Guy Stevens, who later produced albums by Spooky Tooth, Mott the Hoople, and The Clash. It was based on a Burmese cat named Procul Harun.

On May 6, Procol Harum filmed a segment for the UK music program As You Like It. On the 12th, they opened for the Graham Bond Organization at the UFO Club (aka Blarney Club), the epicenter of London’s burgeoning psychedelic rock scene.

“A Whiter Shade of Pale”

On May 12, 1967, Procol Harum debuted with “A Whiter Shade of Pale” on Deram.

Procol Harum recorded “A Whiter Shade of Pale” at London’s Olympic Sound Studios in April 1967 with early Moodies producer Denny Cordell and engineer Keith Grant.

They recorded the b-side, “Lime Street Blues,” at Advision Studios with drummer Bobby Harrison. 

“A Whiter Shade of Pale” reached No. 1 in thirteen territories, including the UK, Oceania, Canada, and most of Europe. In the first of two promo clips for the song, Procol Harum walk about the ground of Witley Court, a 17th-century Italianate mansion that, by 1967, had withered unattended since a 1937 fire (restoration on the property commenced in 1972). Footage of the band is intermixed with Vietnam War newsreels. Later in the clip, the band mime on a dark soundstage, where Harrison enacts Eyden’s drum parts.

Procol Harum mimed the song on the May 25 broadcast of the BBC music program Top of the Pops, which reaired the song six times amid competing spring–summer hits by Aretha Franklin (“Respect”), The Beatles (“All You Need Is Love”), Cream (“Strange Brew”), Dusty Springfield (“Give Me Time”), The Hollies (“Carrie-Anne”), The Kinks (“Death of a Clown”), The Monkees (“Alternate Title”), Petula Clark (“Don’t Sleep In the Subway”), Pink Floyd (“See Emily Play”), PP Arnold (“The First Cut Is the Deepest”), The Rascals (“Groovin”’), Small Faces (“Here Come the Nice”), The Supremes (“Happening”), Traffic (“Paper Sun”), and The Turtles (“She’d Rather Be With Me”).

Though intended as a studio one-off, the success of “A Whiter Shade of Pale” made Procol Harum an ongoing concern. Prompted for an album and tour, Brooker called in Paramounts colleagues Trower and Wilson. Fisher, whose organ features prominently on the single (he would later be granted a co-writing credit), became an ongoing member. Knights was retained for the time being.

The two discharged members, Royer and Harrison, formed the powertrio Freedom. Harrison later fronted rustic-rockers Snafu.

Procol Harum filmed a second clip for “A Whiter Shade of Pale” with the new lineup. Clip #2, filmed in grainy 16mm color for the short-lived Scopitone jukebox, shows Procol Harum running (slow motion) and standing side-to-side in psychedelic garb as Brooker lipsyncs directly to the camera. Footage of the band on cathedral ground cuts between clips of youth cavorting in Piccadilly Circle.

On June 4, 1967, Procol Harum supported the Jimi Hendrix Experience at London’s Saville Theatre. On Friday the 9th, they played The UFO Club with psych-mods The Smoke. On Monday the 12th, the headlined London’s prestigious Marquee Club with openers Timebox. On July 1, they appeared at London’s Roundhouse for the Angry Arts Festival, which also featured sets by the Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Yardbirds, and the Social Deviants.

Procol Harum played their first Continental show on August 25 in Brussels.

Procol Harum

Procol Harum first released their self-titled debut album in North America in September 1967 on Deram. This version opens with “A Whiter Shade of Pale” and features seven additional Brooker–Reid numbers, including “Conquistador,” “Cerdes (Outside the Gates of),” and the epic two-parter “Kaleidoscope/Salad Days (Are Here Again).” Fisher composed the closing track, “Repent Walpurgis.”

Sessions took place between April and June 1967 at Olympic Studios where early Moodies soundman Denny Cordell produced the album between singles by Georgie Fame and The Move.

Procol Harum sports an ink-pen illustration of a hippie woman with a long white gown and flowing hair under a leafy tree. The artist, who went by the name Dickinson, was Reid’s then-girlfriend and later wife. She drew inspiration from the work of Victorian illustrator Aubrey Beardsley (1872–1898), best known for his Art Nouveau book covers and poster illustrations.

The US–Canadian release of Procol Harum occurred just days before the UK release of the band’s second single. On September 29, they released the Brooker–Reid original “Homburg” (b/w “Good Captain Clack”), their first of four singles on Regal Zonophone. German copies of Procol Harum contain “Homburg” as the opening track.

Procol Harum mimed “Homburg” on that week’s TotP, which reaired it across two fortnights amid current hits by the Bee Gees (“Massachusetts”), The Box Tops (“The Letter”), Eric Burdon & The Animals (“Good Times”), The Foundations (“Baby Now That I’ve Found You”), The Herd (“From the Underworld”), The Move (“Flowers In the Rain”), Stevie Wonder (“I’m Wondering”), The Troggs (“Love Is All Around”), and The Who (“I Can See for Miles”).

“Homburg” reached No. 1 in the Netherlands and No. 6 in the UK. It also went Top 10 in Australia (No. 5), Belgium (No. 6), Denmark (No. 6), Ireland (No. 4), and Switzerland (No. 5). The song reached No. 2 in Italy, where Milan beatsters I Camaleonti held the No. 1 spot for ten weeks with a translated cover titled “L’ora dell’amore.”

In early October, Procol Harum filmed segments for the UK TV programs Crackerjack and Dee Time. They made their US debut with a six-night engagement (Oct. 28–Nov. 2) at the Café au Go Go in New York City. In November, Procol Harum played three nights each with Pink Floyd and The Doors at the San Francisco Winterland and Fillmore West.

Procol Harum finally appeared in the UK in December 1967 on Regal Zonophone. This opens with “Conquistador” and omits “A Whiter Shade of Pale” but adds “Good Captain Clack” on side two, which presents “Kaleidoscope” and “Salad Days (Are Here Again)” as two separate numbers. “Salad Days” appears on the soundtrack of the 1968 British drama Separation along with a film score by Stanley Myers and organ instrumentals by Fisher.

In Italy, Procol Harum appeared in 1968 on the IL label with a magenta-tinted cover and one additional number, “Il Tuo Diamante,” an Italian version of their upcoming song “Shine On Brightly” translated by Mogol.

In Australia and New Zealand, Procol Harum appeared on Festival Records, which lifted “Conquistador” as a single backed with “She Wandered Through the Garden Fence.”


On January 24, 1968,  Procol Harum appeared at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, France, for Midem ’68, a music gala with sets by  Julie Driscoll & Brian Auger’s Trinity, Kiki Dee, Georgie Fame, Lulu, Long John Baldry, Spooky Tooth, and The Moody Blues. On Jan. 27, Procol Harum played the Gliderdrome Starlight Room in Boston, England, with The Equals.

On February 20, Procol Harum appeared at Mayfair Ballroom in Newcastle for the Mayfair Arts Ball, which also featured Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds. On the 27th, Procol Harum embarked on a twelve-date German–Swiss tour with the Bee Gees, starting at Hamburg’s Musikhalle and wrapping on March 10 at Bern’s Festhalle.

That spring, Wilson was one of five drummers who partook in sessions for the debut album by Cordell’s latest client, singer Joe Cocker. Wilson plays on the singer’s Beatles cover “With a Little Help From My Friends” and (with Fisher) the Bob Dylan cover “Just Like a Woman.” The album, With a Little Help From My Friends, appeared the following year on A&M.

“Quite Rightly So”

On March 22, 1968, Procol Harum released “Quite Rightly So,” a Brooker–Fisher–Reid number backed with the Brooker–Reid “In The Wee Small Hours of Sixpence.”

April 27, 1968 Brown University, Wriston Quadrangle, Providence, RI (supporting The Yardbirds)

September 1, 1968 Meadow Brook Baldwin Pavilion, Oakland University, Rochester, MI (Oakland University Pop Rock Festival) – 1:00pm-midnight event with Pink FLoyd, SRC, The Rationals, Chrysalis, MC5, and The Pyschedelic Stooges

September 6-8, 1968 Kinetic Playground, Chicago, IL (supported by Mandrake Memorial)

Shine on Brightly

Procol Harum first released their second album, Shine on Brightly, in North America in September 1968 on A&M. It opens with “Quite Rightly So” and contains five Brooker–Reid songs, including the title-track and “Magdalene (My Regal Zonophone).” Side two largely consists of “In Held ‘Twas in I” (17:31), a suite in five parts, including the Fisher-composed “Grand Finale.”

Sessions occurred in the winter of 1967–68 at Olympic and Advision Studios. They initially worked with Cordell, who left the project midway after his unsuccessful attempt to lure Wilson into Joe Cocker’s backing band. Tyrannosaurus Rex soundman Tony Visconti produced the balance of Shine on Brightly with Rolling Stones engineer Glyn Johns, who also worked on 1968 albums by Small Faces (Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake), Spooky Tooth (It’s All About), the Steve Miller Band (Children of the Future), and Traffic (self-titled), whose members play percussion on “Wish Me Well.”

A&M (US, Canada, Japan, Brazil) issued Shine on Brightly in a gatefold that shows a green-tinted valley setting with a nude mannequin pianist. The photographer, Tom Wilkes, also has visual credits on 1967–68 albums by Captain Beefheart, The Churls, Lee Michaels, The Turtles, and Van Dyke Parks. On the inner-gates, Procol Harum appear in monochrome holding firecrackers. Crawdaddy journalist Paul Williams wrote the liner notes, which marvel at the “motley mood” of Reid’s lyrics. The album also appeared on Cube (Belgium) and Polydor (Germany) with the same cover art.

In the UK, Shine on Brightly appeared in December 1968 on Regal Zonophone with the same tracklist and a revised cover by George Underwood. It has an illustration of a pink valley with a grand piano that extends to the vanishing point with upright cadavers and snake keys (foreground) and a candelabra-wielding Buddha.

“Quite Rightly So” “In The Wee Small Hours of Sixpence”

October 27, 1968 Alameda County Fairgrounds, Pleasanton, CA (San Francisco International Pop Festival)
The Animals
Canned Heat
Chambers Brothers
Deep Purple
The Grass Roots
Iron Butterfly
The Loading Zone
Buddy Miles

October 31-November 2, 1968 Fillmore West, San Francisco, CA (supported by Santana, Saloon Sinclair & Mother Bear)

November 8-9, 1968 Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, CA (supporting Love, with Chicago ‘Transit Authority’)


March 1, 1969 Island Garden Arena, West Hempstead, NY (supporting Blood, Sweat & Tears)

March 21, 1969 Auditorium Theatre, Chicago, IL (supporting The Staple Singers)

March 28, 1969 Boston Arena, Boston, MA (Supporting Sly & the Family Stone)

A Salty Dog

Procol Harum first released their third album, A Salty Dog, in North America in April 1969 on A&M. Brooker and Reid wrote four numbers (“A Salty Dog,” “The Milk of Human Kindness,” “The Devil Came from Kansas,” “All This and More”) plus two songs with help from Fisher (“Boredom”) and Trower (“Too Much Between Us”). The title-track marks their first use of an orchestra.

Side two contains two Fisher–Reid songs (“Wreck of the Hesperus,” “Pilgrim’s Progress”) and two Trower–Reid rockers (“Juicy John Pink,” “Crucifiction Lane”). Trower, who asserts his blue-rock influences on select tracks, sings lead on “Crucifiction Lane.” Fisher sings lead on his three co-writes and did the orchestration on “Wreck of the Hesperus.”

Sessions took place in March 1969 at EMI Studios, where Fisher debuted as a producer on A Salty Dog. Ken Scott, a soundman on The Beatles‘ “white album,” engineered most of Salty Dog in succession with 1969 titles by David Bowie, Jackie Lomax, Mary Hopkin, Principal Edwards Magic Theatre, and the Third Ear Band.

A Salty Dog features additional instruments played by Brooker (celeste, three-stringed guitar, bells, harmonica, wood recorder) and Fisher (marimba, rhythm and acoustic guitars, recorder). Brooker arranged the orchestration on “All This and More” and “A Salty Dog,” which features bosun’s whistle by Procol’s tour manager, John “Kellogs” Kalinowski.

Dickinson did the Salty Dog cover illustration, which spoofs the Player’s Navy Cut mascot (a groomed sailor faced upward) with a seedier character (a scraggly sailor grinning at the viewer).

May 18, 1969 Parliament Hill Fields, London, ENG (The Camden Fringe Festival 1969, with Soft Machine, John Fahey, Third Ear Band, Blossom Toes, Forest & Yes)

On May 30, before the album’s UK release, Procol Harum lifted “A Salty Dog” as their third Regal Zonophone single. The non-album b-side, “Long Gone Geek,” is a co-write between Brooker, Fisher, and Reid. The song reached No. 3 on the Dutch singles chart.

June 20, 1969 DAR Constitution Hall, Washington DC (supported by The Guess Who & Seatrain)

In the UK, A Salty Dog appeared in July 1969 on Regal with the same cover art and tracklist as its A&M counterpart.

August 1, 1969 Atlantic City Race Track, Atlantic City, NJ (Atlantic City Pop Festival)
Janis Joplin
Joe Cocker
Lothar and the Hand People
Hugh Masekela
Buddy Miles
Joni Mitchell
The Mothers of Invention

December 21, 1969 Lyceum, London, ENG (2 shows supporting the Rolling Stones)

This is the final Procol Harum album with David Knights and Mathew Fisher, who were both replaced with Paramounts bassist–organist Chris Copping. Fisher went into production and made two 1973–74 solo albums on RCA Victor. Knights resurfaced for the 1974 Chrysalis one-off Ruby.


Liquorice John Death – Ain’t Nothin’ to Get Excited About

George Harrison – All Things Must Pass 

April 20, 1970 Civic Hall, Dunstable, ENG (supported by Wishbone Ash)

April 24, 1970 Lancaster University, Lancaster, ENG (supported by Skin Alley & Farm)

May 9, 1970 The Refectory, Leeds University, Leeds, ENG (with Humble Pie)

June 5, 1970 Lyceum Theatre, London, ENG (with Argent, Hard Meat & Supertramp)


Procol Harum released their fourth album, Home, on June 5, 1970, on Regal Zonophone. It features seven Brooker–Reid numbers, including “Still There’ll Be More,” “Nothing That I Don’t Know,” “Dead Man’s Dream,” and the epic “Whaling Stories.” Side one is bookended by the Trower–Reid cuts “Whisky Train” and “About to Die.”

Sessions first commenced in December 1969 at Trident, where Fisher was tapped to produce the album. Procol Harum scrapped these plans and moved the project to Abbey Road Studios, where Beatles soundman Chris Thomas produced Home between the second and third albums by the Climax Chicago Blues Band. The engineer on Home, Jeff Jarratt, also worked on 1970 albums by The Greatest Show On Earth, Locomotive, Quatermass, Syd Barrett, and Wallace Collection.

Dickinson designed the album’s gatefold cover, which spoofs the Chutes and Ladders board game with the band members in lieu of the Milton Bradley kids. The inner-gates have a sepia group pic and lyrics.

Home was Procol’s first album to appear first in the UK, where “Your Own Choice” (b/w “About to Die”) was pressed as a promo single. Home appeared in July in the US, where A&M lifted “Whiskey Train” (b/w “About to Die”).

July 14-16, 1970 The Boston Tea Party, Boston, MA (supported by Blodwyn Pig)

July 26, 1970 Hemisfair Park, San Antonio, TX (with Josephus & Ten Years After)

August 7, 1970 Mosport Park, Bowmanville, ON (Strawberry Fields Festival 1970)
Jethro Tull
Leigh Ashford
Alice Cooper

August 28, 1970 Afton Down, Isle of Wight, ENG (Isle of Wight Festival 1970)

September 5, 1970 Musikhalle, Hamburg, GER (supporting Ten Years After, with Cold Blood)


Allan Clarke – My Real Name Is ‘arold

Broken Barricades

Procol Harum first released their fifth album, Broken Barricades, in May 1971 on Chrysalis (UK, Netherlands), Island (France, Germany, Spain, Italy), and A&M (North America, South America, Japan, Oceania). It features five Brooker–Reid numbers, including “Simple Sister,” “Playmate of the Mouth,” and “Luskus Delph.” Trower composed “Memorial Drive,” “Poor Mohammed,” and the Hendrix tribute “Song for a Dreamer.”

Sessions took place in February–March 1971 at AIR Studios, where Thomas produced Broken Barricades in succession with the debut solo album by former Jethro Tull and Blodwyn Pig guitarist Mick Abrahams. Barricades was engineered by AIR staffer John Punter, a soundman on 1970–71 albums by Caravan (In the Land of Grey and Pink), East of EdenHunter Muskett (Every Time You Move), Nazareth, Strawbs, Satisfaction, Trapeze, and Walrus.

Broken Barricades is housed in a die-cut gatefold sleeve designed by C.C.S. Associates. The front outer-gate has an over-cloud illustration with cut-outs to the monochrome faces of Procol Harum, who appear on the right inner-gate. The left inner-gate contains the lyrics to four songs amid the eyes and hand of an apparition. A photo-negative of Keith Reid appears on the back.

A&M lifted “Broken Barricades” (b/w “Power Failure”) as the first single, followed by “Simple Sister” (b/w “Song for a Dreamer”). In France, Island issued “Poor Mohammed” as an a-side (b/w “Broken Barricades”). No singles appeared in Chrysalis territories.

Broken Barricades is the final pre-reunion album with Robin Trower, who departed Procol Harum in late 1971 to launch his solo career. They hired guitarist Dave Ball (b. 1950), who cut two singles in Big Bertha with drummer Cozy Powell. As Copping concentrated on organ, they also hired bassist Alan Cartwright, formerly of Brian Davison’s Every Which Way.

September 17, 1971 Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, ENG (supported by Andy Roberts)

September 24, 1971 The Dome, Brighton, ENG (supported by Terry Reid & Stone The Crows)

October 8, 1971 London School Of Economics, London, ENG (supported by Barclay James Harvest)

October 20, 1971 Holstebro Hallen, Holstebro, DEN (supported by Day of Phoenix & Dr Dopo Jam)

October 26, 1971 Circus Krone-Bau, Munich, GER (supported by Heads Hands and Feet)

November 11, 1971 Massey Hall, Toronto, ON (supported by King Crimson)

November 18, 1971 Jubilee Auditorium, Edmonton, AB

November 24-25, 1971 Academy Of Music, New York City, NY (supported by King Crimson & Yes)

January 19, 1972 Town Hall, Birmingham, ENG (supported by Amazing Blondel)
six dates, wrappping on January 25, 1972 City Hall, Sheffield, ENG (supported by Amazing Blondel)


Procol Harum Live: In Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra

In April 1972, Chrysalis released Procol Harum Live: In Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, culled from their November 18, 1971, show at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium with the Da Camera Singers and the orchestra conducted by Lawrence Leonard.

Side one features one song each from Procol Harum (“Conquistador”) and Home (“Whaling Stories”) and two from A Salty Dog (“A Salty Dog,” “All This and More”). Side two (19:00) consists of an orchestrated version of “In Held ‘Twas in I.”

Another concert piece, the Broken Barricades song “Luskus Delph,” appears on the b-side of “Conquistador,” which Procol Harum released as a single. It reached the Top 10 in Australia (No. 4), Canada (No. 7), New Zealand (No. 3), and the Netherlands (No. 8). In the US, the live “Conquistador” reached No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100. In France, Chrysalis placed “A Salty Dog” on the b-side.

Procol Harum Live reached No. 7 in Canada and No. 5 on the Billboard 200. Dave Ball left after this album and reteamed with Powell in Bedlam. Procol Harum hired onetime Plastic Penny guitarist Mick Grabham, fresh off a three-album stint with Cochise and the just-completed UA solo album Mick the Lad.



Grand Hotel

Procol Harum first released their sixth studio album, Grand Hotel, in March 1973 on Chrysalis (worldwide). It contains nine Brooker–Reid numbers, including “Toujours L’Amour,” “Robert’s Box,” and the epics “Grand Hotel,” “T.V. Caesar,” and “Fires (Which Burnt Brightly).”

Grand Hotel” Inspired by the ambience of inner-war grand hotels and Palm Court orchestras — a theme reflected in the cover design.

Chris Thomas produced Grand Hotel amid work on albums by Badfinger, John Cale, Pink Floyd (Dark Side of the Moon), and Roxy Music (For Your Pleasure). Sessions started in April 1972 with Ball, whose departure followed conflicts with Wilson after the album’s near-completion. With Grabham, Procol Harum re-recorded Grand Hotel and rescheduled its release (originally slated for October 1972). John Punter engineered Grand Hotel in sequence with titles by Ann Odell, Jonesy, Osibisa, and the debut solo album by Bryan Ferry.

Grand Hotel features guest contributions by the Pahene Recorder Ensemble (“Bringing Home the Bacon”) and French soprano singer Christiane Legrand (“Fires (Which Burnt Brightly)”). In addition to drums and percussion, Wilson is credited with “22 Mandolins!!” — a reference to the number of overdubs he recorded for the middle-section on “Grand Hotel.”

Grand Hotel is housed in a gatefold designed by Spencer Zahn with photography by Jeffrey Weisel. It shows the six-piece band (Brooker, Copping, Wilson, Cartwright, Grabham + Reid) in vintage thirties tuxedos and top hats, pictured waist-up before the white facade of an unidentified hotel. On the inner-gates, they’re grouped inside the hotel lobby where Reid (left) portrays a butler while the musicians (right) straddle a spiral staircase. Zahn also has visual credits on 1972-73 albums by jazz-rockers Good God and the Cobblestone–Muse recording artists Catalyst, Norman Connors, and The Visitors.

Chrysalis lifted “Robert’s Box” as the album’s first single (b/w “A Rum Tale”), followed by the August release of “Souvenir of London” (b/w “Toujours L’Amour”). In Germany, “Grand Hotel” appeared as an a-side (b/w “Robert’s Box”).

Grand Hotel went Top 30 in Australia, the US, and Canada, where it peacked at No. 18 on the RPM chart.

March 3, 1973 Central Hall, York University, York, ENG (supported by Hemlock)
12 dates wrapping on March 17, 1973 Leeds University, Leeds, ENG (supported by Hemlock)

April 4, 1973 Orpheum Theater, Boston, MA (supported by Tranquility)

April 12, 1973 Civic Theater, Akron, OH (supported by Gentle Giant)

April 27, 1973 Jackson State University, Jackson, MS (Supported by Hydra. A strike forced the change from the Jackson Coliseum)

May 24, 1973 Winterland, San Francisco, CA (supported by Terry Reid & The Strawbs)

June 9, 1973 Majestic Theatre, Dallas, TX (supported by King Crimson)

June 13, 1973 Ellis Memorial Auditorium, Memphis, TN (supported by ELO)

August 3, 1973 Queensway Hall, Dunstable, ENG (supported by Leo Sayer)

October 26, 1973 Deutschlandhalle, West Berlin, GER (supported by Gentle Giant & Leo Kottke)

Exotic Birds and Fruit

Procol Harum first released their seventh album, Exotic Birds and Fruit, in April 1974 on Chrysalis. It features nine Brooker–Reid numbers, including “Monsieur R. Monde,” “The Thin End of the Wedge,” and the Hammond organ epics “Nothing but the Truth” and “The Idol.”

The track “Butterfly Boys” is a veiled jab at Chrysalis co-founders Chris Wright and Terry Ellis. “As Strong as Samson” features slide guitar by Grabham’s former Cochise colleague BJ Cole.

Sessions took place in the winter of 1973–74 at AIR Studios with Thomas, who handled the project in succession with the debut solo album by Brian Eno (Here Come the Warm Jets) and the first Eno-less Roxy Music album (Stranded). The latter also involved Exotic Birds engineer Punter, who also worked on 1973–74 albums by Camel (Mirage), Caravan (For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night), Kevin Ayers, Rupert Hine, and Tempest.

Exotic Birds and Fruit sports a brown-framed reproduction of Fruit and Birds, an oil-on-canvass (circa 1708) by Dutch still-life painter Jakob Bogdani (1658–1724). In Argentina, Chrysalis issued the album under its Spanish translation, Pájaros Y Frutas Exóticas.

Procol Harum released “Nothing But the Truth” in March as the lead-off single, backed with the non-album “Drunk Again.” In Germany, “As Strong as Samson (When You’re Being Held to Ransom)” re-appeared in January 1976 as a single, backed with a track from their subsequent album.

March 12, 1974 John Peel Show (Radio Show BBC)

March 15, 1974 Reading University, Reading, ENG (supported by Ruby, Dave Knight’s band)

April 23, 1974 Music Hall, Boston, MA (supported by King Crimson & Maggie Bell)

April 27, 1974 Reid Athletic Center, Hamilton, NY (supported by The Sharks)

May 4, 1974 Auditorium Theater, Rochester, NY (supported by Black Sheep)

May 7, 1974 Armory Fieldhouse, Cincinnati University, Cincinnati, OH (supported by Billy Joel & Golden Earring)

May 10, 1974 Jai-Alai Fronton, Miami, FL (supported by Renaissance & Dave Mason)

July 27, 1974 Crystal Palace Bowl, London, ENG (Supporting Rick Wakeman, with Leo Sayer, Gryphon, Wally & The Winkies)

August 2, 1974 Fairfield Hall, Croydon, ENG (supported by BeBop DeLuxe)

August 10, 1974 Ruissalo, Turku, FIN (Turku Music Festival, Ruisrock ’74 with Locomotiv GT, Strawbs & Nazareth)

August 24, 1974 Little John’s Farm, Reading, ENG (The 14th National Jazz and Blues Festival)

September 11, 1974 Town Hall, Birmingham, ENG (supported by Strife)

September 12, 1974 Coventry Theatre, Coventry, ENG (supported by Zzebra)

September 13, 1974 Guildhall, Portsmouth, ENG (supported by Jess Roden’s Band)

March 16, 1975 Rainbow, London, ENG (“Over The Rainbow” with Kevin Coyne, Frankie Miller, John Martyn, Richard & Linda Thompson, Hatfield and the North & Sassafras)


Procol’s Ninth

Procol Harum first released their eighth studio album, Procol’s Ninth, in August 1975 on Chrysalis. For this album, they teamed with the legendary songwriting team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, the writers of the 1963 Paramounts hit “Poison Ivy.”

Ninth contains eight Brooker–Reid originals, including “Fool’s Gold,” “Typewriter Torment,” “The Pipers Tune.” The opening track, “Pandora’s Box,” is a song Procol Harum first demoed in 1967.

Side two opens with their version of the 1962 Leiber–Stoller chestnut “I Keep Forgetting,” first recorded by American R&B singer Chuck Jackson and covered that decade by The Artwoods (1965) and The Checkmates (1966). Later covers include versions by Roger Chapman (1979) and David Bowie (1984). (The 1982 Michael McDonald hit “I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near)” would ultimately list Leiber–Stoller as co-writers due to its similarity to their song.)

Ninth closes with a cover of the Lennon–McCartney evergreen “Eight Days a Week,” one of numerous mid-seventies Beatles covers — as exhibited by Boxer (“Hey Bulldog”), Tempest (“Paperback Writer”), Gryphon (“Mother Nature’s Son”), Stackridge (“Hold Me Tight”), Sparks (“I Wanna Hold Your Hand”), and the multiple artists (Ambrosia, Bee Gees, Peter Gabriel, Leo Sayer) who partook in the soundtrack to All This and World War II, a newsreel docu-film set to Beatles covers.

Leiber–Stoller produced Ninth in early 1975, soon after their project with the American duo Dino & (Michael) Sembello (whose song “Pearl’s a Singer” became a hit for ex-Vinegar Joe singer Elkie Brooks on her 1977 second solo album, another Leiber–Stoller production). Two years earlier, the team produced Ferguslie Park, the second album by Scottish popsters Stealers Wheel.

Chrysalis lifted “Pandora’s Box” in late July as the album’s advance single (b/w “The Piper’s Tune”), followed in November with “The Final Thrust” (b/w “Taking the Time”). In January 1976, “The Unquiet Zone” appeared as the b-side of “As Strong as Samson (When You’re Being Held to Ransom),” an excavated Exotic Birds track.

“Pandora’s Box” reached No. 16 on the UK Singles Chart on the week of August 23, 1975.

Various – Peter And The Wolf

August 16, 1975 Theatre Antique d’Orange, Orange, FRA (Orange Festival 1975.

Procol headlined the second day supported by Tangerine Dream, Baker Gurvitz Army, John Martyn, Dr Feelgood, Zzebra)

October 18, 1975 Riverfront Auditorium, Cincinatti, OH (cancelled appearance, supporting Rick Wakeman, with Gentle Giant)
This was a brand new facility and this was the first major concert attraction held there. The venue seats over 17,000 but on this night was arranged in “theater setup” with only 7500 tickets put on sale. Gentle Giant opened the show. Procol Harum was supposed to appear second on the bill (having replaced Peter Frampton) but was unable to, due to their equipment truck breaking down in West Virginia. Gentle Giant agreed to let Procol use their equipment, but Rick Wakeman vetoed the idea. Procol may have also asked to play last to give their equipment time to arrive, but Wakeman was not keen on that idea, either. Whatever the case, this all led to a nasty scene backstage between Wakeman’s road crew and members of Procol Harum. After Giant’s set, Procol band member Keith Reid tried to take the stage and announce to the crowd why they weren’t playing, but Wakeman’s crew stopped him. In fact, no announcement at all about Procol was made until the end of the evening. After the show, the battle went public as Procol’s Reid and Gary Brooker took to the airwaves over Cincinnati’s WEBN radio to complain about the situation. Wakeman himself heard this broadcast and phoned in to rebut against what he called “lies”.

October 25, 1975 Music Hall, White Plains, NY (Supported by Little Feat)

Dec 31-January 3, 1976 Olympia, London, ENG (Great British Music Festival. Four day event, PH headlined the second day, though Barclay James Harvest closed)
Doctors of Madness, Be Bop Deluxe, Status Quo, Thin Lizzy, Charlie, Bad Company, Nazareth, and The Pretty Things.
Procol Harum headlined Day 2 (Jan 1) which featured Baker Gurvitz Army,Jack the Lad, John Miles, Snafu and Barclay James Harvest

June 6, 1976 Messegelände, Offenburg, GER (Sunrise Festival 1976 with Van der Graaf Generator, Scorpions, Man, Alvin Lee, Wishbone Ash, Bob Marley)

June 7, 1976 Phillipshalle, Dusseldorf, GER (Sunrise Festival 1976 with Wishbone Ash, Alvin Lee Band, The Kinks, War & Man)

September 4, 1976 Philipshalle, Düsseldorf, GER (Sensational Sunshine Festival 1976)

September 11, 1976 Openluchttheater, Lochem, NED (Lochem Festival 1976) PH headlined replacing Rory Gallagher. Supported by Curved Air, Caravan (replacing John Cale), Climax Blues Band & Dr Feelgood)

October 2, 1976 Westfalenhalle, Dortmund, GER (First Dortmunder Rock Dream, supporting Rainbow, with Golden Earring, Scorpions, John Cale, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Van Der Graaf Generator, Budgie, Franz K. Wallenstein, Magna Carta, Giltrap, Camel & AC/DC)

January 31, 1977 Deutsches Museum, Munich, GER
6-date German tour


Something Magic

Procol Harum first released their tenth album, Something Magic, in February 25, 1977, on Chrysalis. Side one contains four Brooker–Reid numbers, including “Skating on Thin Ice” and “Strangers in Space.” Grabham, in his only writing contribution to the band, composed the riff to “The Mark of the Claw.” Side two consists of “The Worm & the Tree” (18:35), a three-part suite with eight sub-parts.

Sessions took place in late 1976 in Miami at Criteria Recording Studios, owned by brothers Howard and Ron Albert (aka Fat Albert Productions). The Albert’s rejected half the songs that Procol intended to use for the album, including the recent live numbers “You’d Better Wait” and “This Old Dog.” This prompted Brooker to finish “The Worm & the Tree,” a long-floated idea.

Copping handled orchestral arrangements on “Skating on Thin Ice.” For the title-track, Brooker He employed Miami arranger Mike Lewis, whose clients included Buzzy Linhart, Betty Wright, Gwen McCrae, Gary Farr, and Millie Jackson. The Albert’s produced Something Magic, in succession with 1976-77 albums by Crosby Stills & Nash, Law, Obatala, Wishbone Ash, and Sutherland Brothers & Quiver (Slipstream).

Chrysalis lifted “Wizard Man” as a single, backed with the non-album “Backgammon.”

Frankie Miller – Full House

March 12, 1977 Golders Green Hippodrome, London, ENG (Sight & Sound Radio & TV)

April 14, 1977 Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Santa Monica, CA (Supported by Walter Egan)

April 15, 1977 Spokane Coliseum, Spokane, WA (Supporting Supertramp)
opened for Supertramp on 6 dates

May 13, 1977 Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA (Supporting Return To Forever)

May 17, 1977 Harvard Square Theatre, Cambridge, MA (2 shows 7.00 & 10.30, supported by Flora Purim with Airto Moreira)

May 21, 1977 Sudbury Arena, ON (last show)




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