Procol Harum

the Pale

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Rupert's People

A close encounter between Procol Harum and Peter Solley in 1967

Record Collector in their December 1999 issue ran an article about the band Rupert's People. In the article about RP and its predecessor Sweet Feeling, there is a paragraph that might amuse Procol Harum fans. Article by Nigel Lees.

Sweet Feeling continued to gig, now placing more emphasis on volume than they had done previously, inspired by the leading power trios of the time such as the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream. By then, Howard Conder had come to regard Rod (Lynton) as his principal songwriter, and asked him to work with the budding songwriter Chris Andrews (aka Tim Andrews) of Fleur de Lys, which saw the creation of a new song, Hold on. Rod also introduced his re-arranged (and retitled) Reflections of Charles Brown. The writers also worked with organist Peter Solley (ironically, later of Procol Harum) recording two songs with Rod present, but not contributing to the finished masters. As he'd done previously with All So Long Ago, Conder presented this new work to Columbia and secured a deal for Fleur de Lys. However, the band decided against signing with Conder and pulled out, leaving him with an investment but no band. He did have a new group name dreamed up by his wife Annette, however - Rupert's People.

Although the split only temporarily delayed the release of Charles Brown it was a serious obstacle, as the similar A Whiter Shade of Pale was racing up the charts and selling by the lorryload. Charles Brown still garnered airplay, however, and sold reasonably well, though its late issue prompted obvious Procol Harum comparisons in the music press. Rod insists that he had never heard Pale while composing Reflections, and it must be remembered that the source, Bach's Air on a G String, was an often-heard tune at the time, through adverts and other sources.

Peter Solley's page at BtP

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