Procol Harum: The Ghosts of a Whiter Shade of Pale

Procol Harum: The Ghosts of a Whiter Shade of Pale

by Henry Scott-Irvine


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Procol Harum: The Ghosts of a Whiter Shade of Pale by Henry Scott-Irvine

Formed in the 1960s, progressive rock band Procol Harum are best known for their multimillion-selling single "A Whiter Shade of Pale" which is the most played record by a British artist of the last 70 years.Procol Harum's extraordinary career now spans almost 50 years. This major biography traces their roots back to 1964 when they were an R&B covers band called The Paramounts whom The Rolling Stones cited as their favourite British group at the time. With its song writing partnership of Keith Reid and Gary Brooker, the new band would soon become associated with a particularly soulful brand of progressive rock and enjoy a massive international hit with ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ in the summer of 1967. A succession of Billboard Top 100 albums followed but Procol Harum’s future would also be marked by a 14-year retirement, a successful re-formation and one of the costliest and most bitterly fought cases in British legal history. With specially written material by Martin Scorsese, Sir Alan Parker and author Sebastian Faulks, the book’s stellar list of interviewees includes the band members themselves, producer Chris Thomas, Cream’s Pete Brown and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page. Their insights illuminate what must surely be the gold standard biography of a unique and highly influential band.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781780382333
Publisher: Omnibus Press
Publication date: 01/01/2017
Pages: 308
Sales rank: 673,295
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Henry Scott-Irvine first saw Procol Harum in 1973 and has known the band since 1979. He co-ordinated Procol Harum Live In Concert with The LSO at London s Barbican Theatre in 1996, and co-hosted the band s 30th Anniversary concert at The Redhill Theatre in 1997. He has been writing, researching, and developing TV programming for over 25 years. This is his first book.

Table of Contents

Foreword Martin Scorsese viii

Introduction Sir Alan Parker x

Chapter 1 Whiter Shades Of Rhythm 'N' Blues - The Paramounts - 1960-1966 1

Chapter 2 From The Paramounts To Procol Harum - 1966-1967 23

Chapter 3 Two Regal Albums - 1968 53

Chapter 4 Indecision & A Salty Dog - 1969 68

Chapter 5 Back Home - 1970 85

Chapter 6 Broken Barricades & Conquistador - 1971 101

Chapter 7 Go Global Or Go Bust - 1972 117

Chapter 8 Grand Hotel - 1973 128

Chapter 9 Exotic Birds & Fruit - 1974 142

Chapter 10 Procol's Ninth - 1975 154

Chapter 11 From East To West - 1976 166

Chapter 12 Something Magic Or Something Awful? - 1977 176

Chapter 13 A Solo Shade Of Brooker - 1977-1990 187

Chapter 14 The Return Of The Prodigal Strangers - 1991 197

Chapter 15 On The Road Again - 1992-1997 210

Chapter 16 A New Millennium & The Well's On Fire - 2000-2004 227

Chapter 17 The Legacy Of A Whiter Shade Of Pale - 1967-2012 237

Chapter 18 Pale Goes To Court - 2005-2009 249

Chapter 19 Beyond The Pale - 2004-2013 265

Afterword Sebastian Faulks 272

Acknowledgements 274

Discographies 279

Appendices 291

1 The Paramounts' Anthologies - 1983 & 1998 291

2 The Paramounts' Re-union Gig: 2005 292

3 The Original Procol Harum album recording sessions 293

4 Shine On Brightly recording sessions 294

5 The House of Lords Appeal hearing re A Whiter Shade Of Pale July 30,2009 296

Source Notes 301

Index 302

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Procol Harum: The Ghosts of a Whiter Shade of Pale 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Buy it while stocks last. This is a lavishly illustrated hardback book, with a colour section and a Foreword by Martin Scorsese. Buy it now!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best biography I've read in ages! I'm not quite sure why I bought this as I hardly knew any of Procol's music aside from the glaringly obvious, but I'm really glad I did. This tells the whole story from early days as R&B covers band the Paramounts through the highs and lows of a lengthy career and up to the present day. This has been meticulously researched by someone who not only clearly understands his subject but also music in general. A thoroughly enjoyable read and I now look forward to investigating more of Procol's body of work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Rum Tale Indeed! When it comes to Procol, I can still remember going down to Woollies' in 1972 to buy a certain Fly double-back ...; or i can remember seeing them in 1975 at the Stateside Centre in Bournemouth and wondering why B.J. Wilson was centre stage, and not at the back like most drummers. Needless to say I didn`t have to wait long to find out ... But hey, you don`t want to hear about that! Henry Scott Irvine`s biography, The Ghosts Of A Whiter Shade Of Pale is the most enjoyable of reads. Well, maybe I`m overstating it just a little bit, but if you are a Procol fan like me, it`s essential. Scott-Irvine`s fair and balanced account, winds backwards and forwards through the warp of time. He takes you on a well researched journey: from coffee shop cellars; to tin-pan alley; gig`s with symphony orchestra`s; and on, across "the Marble Staircase plain ..." On to the House of Lords and beyond. He tells the story of Gary Brooker and Keith Reid, songwriters, whom for most people, and myself included, when simply put are Procol Harum; who couldn`t find anyone to sing their songs, so they thought they might as well form a band, and do them themselves. A monster hit ensued, that would later come back to haunt them; the summer of 1967, came - along with line-up changes - and went, but that was not the end of their story. It was only the beginning. For most people, in this country, Procol only had the one song, but further investigation of their back-catalogue, during those frantic 67 - 77 years, reveals, that there was a raft of better songs hidden away in Brooker and Reid`s attic. How do we remember them in the present; well it`s like this, we remember them for their scholarly lyrics: "Windows Peeped Out On Their Neighbours', Inside Fireside Bedsides Gleam!" And we remember them for their fine musicianship, and we also remember them for being "Unique". Quite simply put there was no one else around like them. Irvine`s book has all the right ingredients for any R n`R yarn, it tells the story of sibling rivalries, long term resentment, petty jealousies and unbridled ambition on the songwriters part. But it tells the story of a band, a band like no other. I`ll be honest, I simply could not put it down, and I`ve read other book`s about them, but if you`re a fan then this is the one, or put it this way, this is as close to the truth as you are going to get! In 2012 you ain`t going to read anything that betters this! That day in 1972, when I bought their first album coupled with Salty Dog, started me off on my Procol journey. Let Henry Scott-Irvine`s meticulously researched book take you on theirs. It`s a real recommend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well researched and written tomb.  Well worth the entrance money! DC