Battle Beyond the Pale
Paul Cheston in London
Lite, 13 November 2006
Nearly 40 years after Procol Harum's A Whiter Shade of Pale hit No.
1, its haunting melody resounded round Court 56 of the High Court today. The
song is the centre of a bitter legal struggle over £1 million royalties from
the classic hit which sold more than 10 million copies.
Gary Brooker, officially as the composer with lyric writer Keith Reid, is
being sued by Matthew Fisher, who claims to have written the evocative
organ solo and melody. The case is expected to last all week - no doubt to
the delight of the judge, Mr Justice Blackburne, who read music and
law at Cambridge and indicated that out of hours he would be playing himself
the Yamaha organ installed in the court to compare chords and melody
structure in the classic song.