Procol Harum

the Pale 

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Keith Reid, Procol Harum's excellent lyricist

19 October 1946 -- 23 March 2023 

With great sorrow the 'Beyond the Pale' team must publish the following official statement received by us on 29 March 2023.

'It is with the deepest sadness that we must announce the passing of the lyricist Keith Reid, who died suddenly on 23 March 2023, in hospital in London. He had been receiving cancer treatment for the past couple of years. 

'Keith was the co-founder and lyricist for the band Procol Harum, notably penning their biggest hit A Whiter Shade of Pale, which contains some of the most enigmatic lyrics of all time. He always said that, at the end of his life, he would explain what it all meant: but sadly he didnít get this opportunity.

'Keith was also involved in numerous other projects within entertainment, and was a co-writer on what became known as the unofficial Australian anthem Youíre the Voice, sung by John Farnham.

'His family would like to thank numerous well-wishers for their very kind messages. A private funeral will be held, and for those who would like to make a donation in his memory, hereís the link: donate to power dementia research - Alzheimer's Research UK .

'Keith will be greatly missed.'

Buy a signed, limited-edition lyric sheet
of A Whiter Shade of Pale

Keith Reid and Frank Key, in Roland's book

The Keith Reid Project: 2008 CD

BtP interview: The Well's on Fire

2009 interview about lyric-writing

Good interview from May 2010

Keith Reid' book, + interview

Interview February 2002: ptI, pt II

Biography at Bucks Music

Links to many interviews

The playwright; the manager; the producer

Brooker on Reid and the truth

Tunes Music Network on Reid

Work outside Procol Harum

Keith on BBC Radio 1, 1973 

Interview: 'lyricist, sage and historian' 

Michel Polnareff collaboration

1997 interview from Shine On

Reid on US radio in 1974

Keith and the Secret Diva

A birthday tribute

'Friendship' in Reid songs

2002: Reid on the Holocaust

ASCAP audio portrait

2008 The Argotist Online about songwriting

Keith Reid's The Only Monkey video
(YouTube, MySpace)

2018: solo album, In My Head

2018: substantial Reid intervew for BtP

(portrait of Keith by Michael Andrews)


Keith Stuart Brian Reid was born 19 October 1946 in Welwyn Garden City, UK. Following the Procol 'Old Testament', he formed a personal management, publishing, and production company, and also a record label. His artists enjoyed a great deal of worldwide success including Gonzales (I haven't stopped dancing yet), Sutherland Brothers and Quiver (Arms of Mary, Sailing), Frankie Miller (Darling), Mickey Jupp (Don't Talk to Me), Robin Trower (Bridge of Sighs) etc.

In the early eighties Keith returned to song-writing and moved to New York to re-start his career. He immediately had huge success with an unknown Australian artist, John Farnham, whose recording of Keith's You're the Voice became, and remains, the biggest-selling record in Australia of all time.

He now continues to concentrate on his song writing and has had songs recorded by such best-selling artists as: Annie Lennox, Willie Nelson, Sarah Brightman, Jeff Healey, Heart, Robin Trower, Mavis Staples, Felix Cavaliere, John Waite, Chris Thompson, John Farnham, Alan Parsons Project, Gary Brooker and Procol Harum. His two solo albums to date are The Common Thread (2008) and In My Head (2018)


Keith Reid solo albums

Keith Reid's words outside Procol Harum

Keith Reid's Procol Harum words

More Procol personnel


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