Gary Brooker had already been in a couple of high school bands when he formed The Paramounts in 1962 with his guitarist chum, Robin Trower. The band were to gain a lot of respect among the cognoscenti of the burgeoning British R'n'B scene which was to give us The Beatles, The Animals, Spencer Davies Group, The Rolling Stones and many others. The Stones in particular were great Paramount fans and championed their cause by giving them guest billing on several memorable shows in the early 60s.
Fame and fortune, however, were destined to elude Brooker until the band split to reform, with a few personnel changes, as Procol Harum in the summer of 1967. Their first single, A Whiter Shade of Pale was to become a world-wide No 1 smash hit and the band were to make ten widely-acclaimed albums in as many years.
Brooker continued after the band retired, to record several solo albums and also played piano and sang in Eric Clapton's band for two years during the 80s.
1991 saw Procol Harum re-formed and making the excellent album The Prodigal Stranger for BMG. Although the record, chock full of wonderful Brooker / Fisher / Reid compositions, did not set the charts on fire it did show Brooker singing well. Indeed, some say, better than ever before. The group's touring activities were re-launched around the world. In early 1996, as part of a short European tour with Procol Harum, Gary orchestrated for and played a one-off concert in London's prestigious Barbican Theatre with the London Symphony Orchestra. The show was a complete sell-out and Gary and the music were met with massive approbation by all who attended.
1997 Gary put out a new album, Within Our House, which continued his innovative style of combining rock and classic music. In the summer of '97 Gary toured the USA as a member of Ringo Starr's All Starr Band, touring Europe in 1998 and again back in the USA in the Spring of 1999.
January 1999 saw the release of Aint' Nothin' To Get Excited About – Rock and R&B Classic available only from Shine On. Gary has been involved with Bill Wyman from Willy and the Poor Boys to the Rhythm Kings, including the highly acclaimed 1998 European tour.
Besides his commitments with the Rhythm Kings, this summer sees Gary [... detail to be confirmed ...] before settling down to write new material for hopefully – a new album.
More info: http://www.procolharum.com
Fan club: Shine On, 56 Brecknock Road, London N7 ODD
Gary Brooker's page at BtP