Procol Harum

Beyond
the Pale

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AWSoP and the 'infamous Bach licks'

Epistolary evidence from Melody Maker


These three letters appeared in the Mailbag page of Britain's Melody Maker in the Summer of 1973


Bach to Bach
I was very interested to see the section on Procol Harum in the Melody Maker's 'History of Pop' especially the reference to 'Gary Brooker's use of Bach licks'.

Funny, I could have sworn I played the organ on that record.

Oh well, such is life.

Matthew Fisher, South Croydon, Surrey


Sour Grapes?
I was very interested to note Matthew Fisher's disgruntled comments on the Melody Maker's 'History of Pop' (Mailbag, August 13 1973)

Funny, I could have sworn that the reference to 'Gary Brooker's use of Bach licks' was a comment on the composition (words, Keith Reid, music Gary Brooker) rather than the performance of Whiter Shade of Pale.

I fear the unfortunate Mr Fisher regrets having parted company with a group currently producing such grand material.

Mick Norman, Shepherds Lane, Dartford, Kent


Pale Truth
Although I consider it a little irresponsible of the Melody Maker to print such a childish and obviously ill-informed letter as Mr Norman's, it may prove to be a blessing in disguise since it now forces me to set the record straight once and for all.

True, the words to A Whiter Shade of Pale were written by Keith Reid (although I cannot detect any 'Bach licks' among the lyrics). Agreed, Gary Brooker set these words to music. That is to say, he wrote the chord sequence and the vocal line. Still no 'Bach licks'.

However the organ part, including the solo and the infamous 'Bach licks', was entirely my doing.

For Mr Norman's further information, I do not consider myself unfortunate, nor do I for one minute regret leaving Procol Harum.

Matthew Fisher, South Croydon, Surrey.


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