The funeral of Gary Brooker MBE was a private affair, taking
place at Guildford Crematorium on 23 March 2022 at 12.45 pm.
to his fellow musicians and Procol entourage, many friends and colleagues from different spheres of Gary's life paid tribute.
Here is the eulogy delivered by Terry Shand, CEO of Castle Communications, Eagle Rock, etc.
I was lucky enough to meet Gary and Franky 35 years ago. We became great friends and – although Gary and I probably spent more time together shooting – we also enjoyed many social and family occasions together. I was never happier than when I could get Gary on the piano to belt out a few numbers, with the inevitable wonderful climax.
Whenever we were shooting Gary would usually ride around with me, and we had many happy days, telling stories, taking the mickey out of each other and the other passengers and guns, having a few drinks, and enjoying the camaraderie that comes with being out in the countryside with a group of great friends. Convivial elevenses, good lunches, and many boisterous dinners.
One of our favourite stories: after a great day’s shooting in Devon, with our roving syndicate, and a particularly long lunch at the end of the day in the lovely old pub we were staying in, we managed to locate the owner’s piano and manhandle it into the public bar. We then persuaded Gazza to get on the piano, with the rest of us as backing singers, and go through a number of favourites, My Girl, Twist and Shout, Walking the Dog and so on, of course, culminating in the great Whiter Shade of Pale with Gary playing and singing beautifully, and with the rest of us joining in on the chorus.
A group of old Devon Farmers were in the bar having their monthly milk-quota meeting, watching with great interest, and listening to this motley, quite refreshed crew, performing at their local. After Gary’s final flourish on the keyboards we went to the bar and ordered another round, and the landlord put on a Hits of the Sixties CD. Lo and behold, within a few minutes Whiter Shade of Pale was being broadcast over the loudspeakers.
One of the old farmers exclaimed, in a broad Devon accent, ‘D’you know, that sounds just like that old feller who was on the piano over there a few minutes ago!’ Rob Fuller, never backward in coming forwards, immediately leapt in and said, ‘Well that’s Gary Brooker: he not only wrote that song, he sang it as well!’ The old farmer looked at Rob and said, ‘Is that right? I suppose you’re going to tell us that Bob Dylan is going to pop in next, and do a couple of numbers!’
As well as our shooting, social, and family times together, I also had the privilege of working with Gary, as Procol was signed to Eagle Records, and my team loved working with Gary on every project we did together.
Given the current state of the world it’s worth realising that Gary probably enjoyed the best years in history, in music, where he was part of the history; in sport, with great English victories in various decades; in remarkable technological advances; and the absence, in his lifetime, of the threat of a world war. His great musicianship, sense of humour, companionship, storytelling skills, love of life, and the huge twinkle in his eye will be missed by everyone.
We all loved Gary, and we always will!
Gary Brooker's page at 'Beyond the Pale' | Official obituary page | Funeral index | More features at BtP