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There are some pop songs which enter the charts, then the public consciousness, and make an indelible impression. They become markers for key stages in life.
One such is Procol Harum's haunting A Whiter Shade of Pale. When it was released around three decades ago it hit the number one chart spot and everyone recognised its strange lyrics – though few really knew what it was all about.
The melody has lingered on with the track still attracting regular air time, and Procol Harum are still as busy as ever 30 years down the line. They work both as a five-piece and with such celebrated orchestras as the London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic and the Hallé.
Their roots are in R & B but their music fuses rock with classical, producing an eclectic and superior sound.
The vocalist, Gary Brooker, has worked with some of the most prominent musicians in the business, most notably Eric Clapton, Bill Wyman, Ringo Starr and Jools Holland.
He's also known for turning his unique voice to "acting" and he contributed to the soundtrack of the film Evita with Madonna and Antonio Banderas.
And the good news for fans is that Procol Harum have a date at Fairfield, Croydon, on Saturday week, May 25, where they will be performing what promises to be a stunning evening of wall-to-wall classic rock. Listen out for other Harum hits like Homburg, Conquistador, and Pandora's Box.
This will be a special date for the Hammond organ player Matthew Fisher, very much the local boy making a concert return. He was born in Addiscombe, went to Selhurst Grammar School before moving to the Guildhall College of Music to study his craft, and only the other day got married here, to his New Jersey girlfriend Carol.
The rest of the Procol Harum line-up are Geoff Whitehorn (lead guitar), Mark Brzezicki (drums) and Matt Pegg (bass guitar).
Thanks to Ken Willis for sending this in. He comments, 'This is so well-informed, and devoid of typos and factual errors, that I am inclined to believe 'twas written by a fan. The whole thing was presented on the "arts" page and was accompanied by the photo of PH seated / standing round the grand piano (Gary pre-beard, Matthew in green jacket, etc.) It looks a lot when presented as column-inches, but there ain't really that much there!'
PH on stage | PH on record | PH in print | BtP features | What's new | Interact with BtP | For sale | Site search