Procol Harum

the Pale

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Organist tells court why he is claiming 1m in royalties

The Croydon Guardian • 27 November 2006

A Croydon musician suing for royalties from the worldwide hit A Whiter Shade of Pale has spoken of his regret over the record.

When asked by the High Court why he had not complained before Matthew Fisher, from South Croydon, said: "If I could go back in time – if I had a time machine – I would have joined another band. If I could do that, believe me I would."

The original organist with Procol Harum, Mr Fisher left the band in 1969. The 60-year-old, who now works as a computer programmer, is claiming royalties estimated at around 1 million from Gary Brooker.

Mr Brooker and lyricist Keith Read [sic], another member of the original group, own the copyright on the song which has often been voted one of the best of all time.

Fisher is claiming authorship of the song's organ solo and melody which accompanies Brooker's vocals.

Mr Fisher was asked about the time in February 1967 when he first spoke to the pair at his mother's home in Croydon.

Mr Fisher said: "I was 20 or 21 years old, a very talented musician with my own Hammond organ. I should have been able to pick up a million jobs. There was a huge list of people who had answered my advert. The world was my oyster." But he said he decided to join what was then a "speculative venture".

One of the decisions he made, he told the judge, was to compose a completely new organ solo for A Whiter Shade of Pale.

He added: "Without my contribution, the record would never have been released."

Asked why it had taken him so long to take court action, Mr Fisher said nobody in 1967 would have believed there would be a lawsuit over the song in 2006.

But he added: "Time doesn't stand still - things change over the years. Here we have a song which is going to go down in history which ought to have my name on it, and it doesn't."

More about the AWSoP lawsuit



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