Procol Harum

the Pale 

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Gary Brooker's announcement

February 2018

1 March:

The stitches are out, and all continues to go well !

27 February:

Fans will no doubt be heartened to know that BtP paid a social call chez Brooker and found The Commander in good health and spirits. His arm adjoining the 'bionic' site remains in its sling for a good few days yet, then it will be allowed out by day, but be kept in at night to help the healing process continue its unseen work.


Gary is pictured in his recently-completed music-study, first contemplating the miniature score of Brahms's German Requiem, which he'd recently his cousin performing in, then showing a BtP webmaster an elusive left-hand lick from The Thin End of the Wedge at the piano (both hands working well). He talked enthusiastically about future plans, what he's been listening to, and about University Challenge.

21 February: Gary sends an update:

'It's been one week since my HAP, and it's slow progress. But my spirits are good and I thank anyone at BtP that has proffered good wishes. GB'

15 February 2018

Hello Roland,

All went well with the op. yesterday and Gary's home today feeling good – as you can see in this picture.

The surgeon was pleased with the procedure: it all went as it should have, however one ligament was cut and Gary has to be careful until it heals.

Perhaps you can reassure the Palers and let them know.



Gary Brooker telephoned ‘Beyond the Pale’ on 9 February 2018 with some information to share with fans about his plans for the coming months.

“As you know, the only reason for having a shoulder is to put your hand where you want it to go.

“Now I've had a problem for some time, maybe two or three years: when I'm playing the piano with my right hand, and I want to point my left hand to Josh, or Geoff – ask them to play a solo – I’ve found I can lift it a bit, but it might miss, and end up pointing at the wrong person. Same if I need to point out a light that’s too bright. And it’s now getting a bit problematic even putting my jacket on, to go on stage.

“At first I just thought I’d pulled a ligament, but various scans have shown that the end of my left arm, where it joins on to the left shoulder, has basically … fallen apart.

“I don't know what caused it … well in fact something called AVN caused it … but as far as I can see it’s just part of growing up. It's not thought to be related to any of my other rock'n'roll injuries. Apparently it's never going to get better, so I’ve decided to replace my left shoulder joint.

“The procedure – it’s called a hemi-arthroplasty – only requires three days in hospital, here in Guildford, but the recommended recovery period is three months, and for a lot of that time my arm will be in a sling. I was looking for a suitable period when Procol had no firm offers on the musical calendar, and I’ve decided to use the three months following our Norway gigs, which were highly enjoyable incidentally.

“I will be cared for by 'Nurse Franky', who I hope will put my socks on and cut my nails. Six weeks in a sling! I might have to start on my autobiography ... it’s either that or writing a one-handed symphony. The plan is to be available again for performance purposes by mid-May. Meanwhile, please let the Palers and Whalers know … ‘Gary goes bionic’.”


Gary Brooker MBE 

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