Procol Harum

the Pale

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 A Whiter Shade of Pale authorship lawsuit

Press release from Harbottle & Lewis, 8 November 2006

Press Release

Proceedings in Chancery Division concerning "Whiter Shade of Pale" by  Procol Harum 

On Monday 13 November 2006 the trial will commence in the Chancery Division in connection with the iconic British rock band Procol Harum. Matthew Fisher, the former organist in the band, issued proceedings against Gary Brooker MBE and Onward Music Limited claiming a share of the copyright in ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ nearly 40 years after the song was a number one hit in 1967.

This claim is strongly contested by Mr Brooker and co-author of the song Keith Reid. Mr Brooker said “'A Whiter Shade of Pale' was written by Keith and myself before Matthew even joined the band.  I am shocked and dismayed that after Matthew had worked with us quite happily over the course of nearly forty years without him once alleging that his role on ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ was anything other than as a musician, it is only now that he claims to recall “composing” part of the song.  I think people can draw their own conclusions from this.”

Harbottle & Lewis LLP are the solicitors for the defendants. Counsels for the defendants are Andrew Sutcliffe QC and Richard Edwards of 3 Verulam Buildings.

For further information please contact Lawrence Abramson on 020 7667 5000 or email

Notes for Editors

Harbottle & Lewis LLP  

Harbottle & Lewis provides specialist advice to the media and entertainment industries.  It is consistently recognised as a leading firm in these areas by independent sources.

The firm’s work encompasses all areas of media and entertainment, including film, television, broadcasting, sport, music, publishing, advertising, video games, fashion and theatre. We remain unique in having expertise right across these sectors.

We provide a complete range of commercial advice to our individual and corporate clients, including: buying and selling businesses and companies, joint ventures, finance, capital markets, commercial disputes, property, employment, immigration and tax. Other specialist legal areas include, sponsorship, intellectual property, legal issues relating to media, including defamation, advertising, brand protection, data protection, privacy, art and gaming and gambling as well as private client and matrimonial work. The firm’s expertise in other areas such as aviation and charities is also widely recognised.  Much of our work involves the technology, new media and telecoms industries and we have done ground-breaking work in connection with the digital exploitation of content and e-commerce generally. 

Harbottle & Lewis is large enough to handle virtually any transaction in its specialist industry areas and complementary practices, but it is also of a size that enables it to remain focused on those sectors and exploit the common factors between them.


More about the AWSoP lawsuit


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