Procol Harum

the Pale

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The Ghosts of A Whiter Shade of Pale

Publicity material from Shindig magazine

Procol Harum’s cinematic songs have inspired top film makers to contribute [to] this upcoming Omnibus Press biography The Ghosts Of A Whiter Shade Of Pale by Henry Scott-Irvine.

Martin Scorsese is a Procol Harum fan and so is Sir Alan Parker. Exclusive contributions in the shape of a Foreword by Martin Scorsese and an Introduction by Sir Alan Parker kick start this biography.

It's official and you read it here first. Procol Harum biographer Henry Scott-Irvine’s Omnibus Press publication The Ghost’s [sic] of A Whiter Shade Of Pale has an exclusive from Scorsese who describes his love of Procol Harum and their great lyrics. In particular he singles out A Salty Dog. Led Zep’s Jimmy Page concurs, ‘It’s their masterpiece’, adding that Procol’s BJ Wilson was his “first choice” for the Led Zeppelin drum stool. “BJ Wilson? There was nobody to touch him”, says Page. “He almost orchestrated with his drumming – with his uniqueness on the kit. There was nobody in the world that could drum like [the late] BJ Wilson. And that’s simply it.”

Film maker Sir Alan Parker provides the book’s ‘Introduction’ and recollects The Commitments which featured ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ as a narrative motif. He also talks about his choice of Procol Harum’s Gary Brooker as a co-star for his movie Evita. “I think he’s up there with Percy Sledge. I am amazed as to why he isn’t seen as the greatest singer in the world. The guy could sing literally anything!” Elton John and Bernie Taupin mention ‘Pale’ and its 1967 Top 10 follow-up Homburg. They were both “like a Dali painting”, says Elton. “And works by Cocteau”, adds lyric writer Taupin. “Procol’s Brooker and Reid  were the only people we could ever compare ourselves to” said Elton.

The Who’s Pete Townshend goes on to cite Shine On Brightly as  being “a real heavy influence when writing Tommy”, whilst author [the late] Douglas Adams describes Grand Hotel as being the inspiration for his book The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe. In more recent times James Bond screenplay writer and author Sebastian Faulks described Procol Harum’s 1972 British orchestral collaboration at London’s Rainbow in his 2008 novel Engleby.

Prior to Procol Harum [from 1963 till 1966] three core Procol members were in the Southend based R&B covers band The Paramounts whom both Jagger and Richards described on NBC TV as being their “favourite British group” upon The Rolling Stones’ arrival at New York’s JFK Airport in 1964. The Paramounts supported The Stones in 1964 and The Beatles in 1965.

To celebrate the launch of this epic biography The British Film Institute will be screening an evening of Paramounts and Procol Harum film and television footage, showing clips ranging from Thank Your Lucky Stars in 1963 to unseen colour psychedelic footage of Procol Harum debuting ‘Homburg’ and ‘A Salty Dog’ along with some great surprises. This profile event is confirmed for Saturday 3 November 2012 at The BFI Southbank’s NFT 1 from 6.30pm until 8.00pm. Procol Harum & The Ghosts Of A Whiter Shade Of Pale is published by Omnibus Press in November to coincide with these very special one-off screenings. There will be book signings in the BFI Bookshop afterwards.  

For more information contact Charlie.Harris[@]

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