Procol Harum

the Pale

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Gary Brooker and the Hollies

Distant Light?

James Towill writes to BtP (2001) ... with more lower down the page!

According to an article in the Hollies Carousel Newsletter, Gary Brooker played as an unaccredited guest artist on the Hollies' 1971 Distant Light LP. Whilst it is widely known that Gary and BJ Wilson played on Brooker / Reid's Harlequin on the Hollies' 5317704 album, and on Allan Clarke's 1972 My Real Name Is 'Arold, I can't find anything about this appearance.

There are certainly some grandiose keyboards on Distant Light, however I assumed that it was the band's bassist, Bernie Calvert (who often swapped bass and keys) who had played these. There is also some strong Hammond, Fender Rhodes and Harmonium playing too. Sounds like GB on grand piano on the track What A Life I've Led. It's good that such an excellent player played a part in this album, probably (in my opinion) one of the Hollies' strongest.

Is there anyone 'out there' who can help us with information about this?

Contact details for the Hollies Carousel Newsletter:
c/o Chris & Sheila Bowen, 12 The Aspens, Kingsbury, nr Tamworth, Staffordshire B78 2JY, UK
Tel (0)1827 872038; Fax (0)121 313 1018

Nice people!

James Towill writes to BtP (2003) ...

A couple of years ago, I contacted 'Beyond the Pale' with the above snippet of information: I had stumbled across about Gary Brooker's connection with The Hollies, around the period of the latter's recording of Harlequin for the '5317704' album in 1978/9.

The book to accompany the band's 40th Anniversary Box Set The Long Road Home 1963 - 2003 contains quite a bit of useful information which might be of interest for Procol fans who visit the website. The sleevenote (excerpted on this page) is by Peter Doggett of Record Collector fame. (fuller transcript here).

I knew that Gary had played keyboards on the band's Distant Light album in 1971, although I had thought it was piano on a track Look What We've Got but, according to the sleevenote, Gary actually played (rather atmospheric!) organ on the album's closing track, the excellent Long Dark Road which was also a single reaching the US Top 30.

More about Harlequin

Harlequin theories

Known Brooker sessions

More from the Hollies
box-set liner note

A great cover of Harlequin

Procol Harum début
Harlequin live

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