Procol Harum

the Pale

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BJ Wilson article ... indifferently accurate

 Nick Talevski's Knocking on Heaven's Door

Synopsis of the book, according to Amazon
"This is the definitive book of rock 'n' roll, pop, R&B and blues' deaths. From Johnny Ace to Frank Zappa, every famous name is included, along with dates, the details and the drama. The author has spent more than 10 years researching this book. This major work by Nick Talevski is not just about the rock legends, who lived hard and died young. It also includes over 1,000 obituaries of numerous music industry personalities, famous and obscure, from the mid-Fifties to the present day. An indispensable addition to every music library, "Knocking On Heaven's Door" is both an authoritative reference book and an irresistible read for any music fan."

Supposedly 'the author has spent more than 10 years researching this book'; we venture to suggest that he didn't spend more than 10 minutes researching this article about BJ Wilson: the errors in it are legion!

BJ Wilson (Barrie James Wilson)
Born March 18, 1947; died October 8, 1990

The highly rated drummer of the symphonic rock band Procol Harum, BJ Wilson employed a powerful, bombastic, thick drum sound. A native of Southend, England, Wilson had replaced drummer Mick Brownlee in 1962 in the British R&B group The Paramounts. Signing with Parlophone Records, The Paramounts scored their sole chart hit with a cover of The Coasters' Poison Ivy (1964). After The Paramounts disbanded in 1966, Wilson worked as a session player for Cat Stevens and Lulu. Meanwhile, former Paramounts lead singer Gary Brooker teamed with songwriter Keith Reid to form Procol Harum. Following the release in 1967 of their début smash A Whiter Shade of Pale, BJ Wilson answered an advertisement in a British music magazine and was hired as the replacement for drummer Bobby Harrison . Another ex-Paramount, Robin Trower, also joined at this time. A revolutionary art-progressive group, Procol Harum followed up with Homburg (1967) and strong albums such as Shine on Brightly (1968), A Salty Dog (1969), Home (1970), and Trower's last with the group, Broken Barricades (1971). In 1968 Wilson was invited by Jimmy Page to become the drummer of Led Zeppelin, but he declined and Page recruited John Bonham instead. True to their classical sound, Procol Harum was backed by The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra for their 1972 album, Live in Concert, and they landed a Top 10 hit with a new, orchestral version of their 1967 track Conquistador (1972).



Although the group’s later albums Grand Hotel (1973), Exotic Birds and Fruit (1974), and Procol's Ninth (1975) were strong sellers, Procol Harum managed only one more hit with the Top 20 British entry, Pandora's Box. After a two-year hiatus, Procol Harum was reformed by Brooker and Wilson for a final album, the Leiber and Stoller-produced Something Magic (1977). Later employed as a session player, Wilson worked with John Hiatt, Frankie Miller, Lou Reed, and for an extended period, Joe Cocker. In very poor health, Wilson was unable to join the reunion of Procol Harum in the Eighties and was replaced by Mark Brzezicki of Big Country.

CAUSE: He was stricken with pneumonia while in a drug-induced coma. A prodigious drinker throughout his adult life, Wilson consumed a massive quantity of drugs in 1987, and remained in a near-vegetative state for the next three years.

BJ's page at BtP

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