Procol Harum

the Pale

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'Thames Delta' • 7 April to 16 June 2012

Harry Brooker memorabilia exhibited in Southend-on-Sea, UK

A panel of mainly pictorial memorabilia relating to the musical career of
Harry Brooker, musician father of Procol's Gary Brooker,
who played piano, accordion, guitar, and trombone

Harry Brooker, featured with his Hawaiian guitar on the cover of BMG
The Monthly Magazine Devoted to the Interests of the Banjo, Mandolin, Guitar and Kindred Instruments
Volume 43 No 46, August 1946 (price ninepence)

Mr Brooker in action (left)

Harry Brooker in full Hawaiian mode


Undated clipping from 1956

A former Bush Hill Park school boy who became resident bandleader at the Palace Hotel, Southend, collapsed and died in the street at Southend last Friday. He was Mr Harry Philip Brooker, aged forty-one, who lived with his wife and family at Faversham Avenue, until they moved to Southend two years ago.

Son of Mr and Mrs H Brooker, of Woodgrange Avenue, he was educated at Bush Hill Park School where he was a keen athlete, representing the school as a hurdler. He had always been keen on music and was a trombonist with the Second Enfield Boys’ Brigade band, later playing the same instrument in the Enfield Central Band.

Before the Second World War he worked at the Enfield Highway Co-Operative Society’s store at Bush Hill Park, and was well-known as a pianist with local dance bands. In 1940 he decided to become a professional musician, and appeared regularly in a Sunday evening radio programme with Bebe Daniels and Ben Lyon. In 1941 he joined Felix Mendelssohn's Hawaiian Serenaders as electric guitarist, remaining with them until 1946. Two years later he formed the resident band at the Palace Hotel.

Only four days before his death he appeared in a television programme as the electric guitarist with Stanley Black’s orchestra in the BBC's Off the Record programme.

He leaves a wife and two children, and the funeral will take place at Southend crematorium tomorrow (Saturday) morning.

Presumably one of the earliest references in print to Gary Brooker (albeit an oblique one)



Thames Delta exhibition

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