Joan May writes:
Here's most of that beautiful tribute to BJ from Stephen Braitman (Letters, Goldmine Magazine, 5/31/91). What preceded the letter was PH's announcement of their reunion - reported in Goldmine with the comment "What, no BJ Wilson?" Sadly, PH didn't announce BJ's death when they announced their reunion, and Goldmine had to be informed by fans after their initial piece ran.. Jeff Tamarkin's response was basically an apology, along with additional words of praise for BJ's greatness as a musician.
Wilson was Heart of Procol Harum
Despite what anyone else might have told you, BJ was the true heart of Procol Harum. Not Matthew Fisher's grand organ washes, not Robin Trower's droning guitar, not Gary Brooker's droll vocals, not Keith Reid's wilfully enigmatic lyrics. BJ's drumming was almost literary - following and emphasizing the narrative with far more power and passion than any mere beat structure.
He was a funny, half-bent individual, not unlike Keith Moon, though he expressed the same kind of manic energy much differently. Take a listen again to Repent Walpurgis or Grand Hotel to see what I mean. In the usual description of Procol Harum's style, "grandeur" is a typical adjective.
BJ created that grandeur with stunning punctuations, great open spaces, surprising reversals of rhythm. Listen to his work with Lou Reed on the Berlin album. BJ Wilson made the drums express both the unpredictability and inevitability of fate. He was awesome, and he will be missed ...
Stephen MH Braitman
San Francisco, CA
A letter to the Editor concerning a previous readers' poll: this is from Goldmine, 11 June 2004, Vol 30 no 12 issue 623 (Glen Campbell on the cover)
BJ Wilson's page at BtP