Procol Harum

Beyond
the Pale

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The rumour quickly spread

? PH to record again in 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002?


This page charts the references, down the years of BtP's existence, to further PH recording activity


October 2002

Gary Brooker and his PA Diane Rolph chose the fifth birthday of 'Beyond the Pale' to confirm that Procol Harum had gone into the studio, 7 October 2002, to record a new album. See here for the glorious announcement.

August 2002

Gary Brooker tells Swedish television interviewers that he is off to France to write new material for a forthcoming Procol album.

February 2002

Fans will be aware of talk about a new studio project from Procol Harum and Eagle Records, following an apparent confirmation from a member of that company's staff.

Gary Brooker's statement to fans this morning (24 February 2002) is as follows:

'There are talks going on with Eagle, but it would be premature to make an announcement. When it's firmed up, the band will let fans know, as always.'

We appreciate Gary's going to the trouble of arbitrating in the present instance.

From BtP's experience (and we get sent many, many 'hot tips'), exciting Procol news is often pre-contractual, and we have many times had to bite our tongues until confirmation is received; sometimes, of course, it isn't! Concert tickets do sometimes go on sale before contracts are signed; employees do occasionally make announcements before artists have inked in their names. In this instance, BtP had agreed with Eagle A&R to make no public statement until there was something definite to say.

Of course fans have recently acted in good faith and understandable excitement, and we all very much hope for excellent news later this year. But if you pick up a hint or find something out about Procol activity, please run it by the band's management (send a mail to BtP for forwarding) before going public on the e-list. Things are not always what they seem from the outside, and specially in the present instance no-one wants a premature declaration to risk rocking the contractual boat.

September 2001

Gary Brooker tells UCLA Radio, during their six-hour marathon broadcast, that he will be going to see a company shortly who are interested in a new Procol Harum album and that he thinks the band should do it: mp3 here.

December 2000

Gary's Christmas message to BtP includes ' I feel there's lots more to come it's exciting! Live gigs, new studio releases ' but of course the new releases referred to could be Rhythm Kings' records. It would be nice to think he was alluding to Procol recordings, as the context might seem to imply!

July 2000

Gary's office announces the Procol Harum Millennium Concert, and concerts are arranged for 2001

April 2000

Gary Brooker tells Frans Steensma here that he will begin working on a project in July 2000

October 1999

Gary Brooker mentions to BtP that 'Procol Harum will play again in 2000' (see here)

May 1999

Gary Brooker wrote to the Whalers that he was planning to record a new solo album ...

December 1998

Gary told a Surrey journalist that he was looking forward to finding the time to write songs for a solo album or a further collaboration with Procol Harum: see here

24 January 1998

Checking that the Brooker / Reid guestbook entry from 23rd January was genuine, we were able to ask directly for confirmation of Gary's apparent hint that a new PH album was planned for 1998. Sadly the rumour was categorically quashed. 'You can say, "Sources close to the poet denied it" ...' were the exact words used.

12 January 1998

We have absolutely no confirmation at all that Procol Harum will be recording again in 1998, beyond Gary Brooker's intriguing remarks on Dutch TV's Cor and Co last month before he sang Holding On.

Yet we know the online Procol community would not forgive us if 'Beyond the Pale' failed to pass on these snippets of dialogue between Gary and the programme's presenter, Cor Bakker, who began the show playing AWSoP at the piano alongside some well-known Dutch Hammond player. Gary's voice suddenly cut in, and he was discovered sitting in the bar. He got his beer, and the host got a glass of milk. Jens Anders Ravnaas transcribed what followed ...

  • It's the 30th anniversary for that song this year. Are there going to be any celebrations?
  • Yes, we had a huge party in July to celebrate that. The problem is most of us couldn't remember why we were all there.
  • (Conversation then turns to the Hammond organ and the Ringo tour of Europe in 1998)

  • Are there any plans for a new album next year?
  • Yes, we are going to make a new Procol Harum album in the new year.
  • Really?
  • (Gary smiles obliquely) Yes, we found some old songs.
  • Are you currently writing any new songs?
  • Yes, when I've got some time for it. But I am doing so much cooking at home these days, so I don't have very much time.
  • (Gary then sings Holding On)

At the moment we know no more than this, and PHans will certainly want to mail record companies, magazines etc for themselves to see if more detail can be gleaned.

But ... note Kellogs's Redhill remark that 'we mustn't let this die'; note the increased activity of Mick Grabham in Procol circles during 1997; note the presence of many Procolers at Chiddingfold 1997; note the backlog of excellent unrecorded songs such as Last Train to Niagara; note the presence of Keith Reid in England over Christmas; ... and note the emergence of a huge community of online Procol Harum fans who are willing this new album into existence with every fibre of their beings!

 


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