Procol Harum

the Pale

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Peter Solley

19 October 1948 – 16 November 2023

A few days after 'Beyond the Pale' announced the sad death of Gary Brooker, his former colleague Peter Solley posted these evocative reminiscences online:

A few words on Gary Brooker.
When Gary asked me to join Procol Harum I was thrilled. But it was only when I started playing with them that I truly realized the greatness of Gary's compositions. The simplicity of some of the melodies belied the complexity of the chord progressions, majestic harmonies followed by unexpected modulations and subtle discords that produced masterpieces that will be as relevant tomorrow as they were when written. Then, as an organ player, the first time playing Whiter Shade of Pale for an audience was a moment in time. A chilling emotional lifetime memory, with respect to Mathew Fisher, that stays with me to this day.

Added to that memory is the man himself and his beloved wife Franky. Several times we entertained them at our house in Florida, got fairly drunk and sat at the piano discussing his songwriting methods. Precious memories, and then on tour as the least likely rock star with his pipe and professorial manner. Gary was unlike any other musician I've worked with. Self-assured, humble, brilliantly talented and funny as fuck. We will all miss him but we can still savor his genius for many years to come. And that voice will soar forever.


 Main instrument Piano, Organ, (Synths on the Something Magic album); started out playing trumpet, clarinet; also plays guitar

Albums Something Magic

Rejoined Procol Harum at Redhill in 1997, and Gary Brooker and Friends at Guildford in 2004

'I'm on my ninth life ...'
2018 unmissable, comprehensive interview about his career ...
If you jump straight to 18:37 for the Procol bits, you'll miss some excellent stories.

His father was British MP Leslie Solley

Previous bands
Worked with Chris Farlowe (alongside Albert Lee and Carl Palmer), Los Bravas, Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Paladin (same instrumentation as PH), the Terry Reid Trio (great 1969 clip here), and SNAFU before joining Procol Harum.

Other work
Since Procol Harum Pete has performed on albums by Eric Clapton, Whitesnake and numerous others. Has produced several Gold and Platinum albums by artists as diverse as Ted Nugent, Peter Frampton, the Romantics, Mountain and Motorhead.

Has received Grammy nominations for best album in various categories. Peter has played in jazz settings with some of the greatest players of all time, and has written a number one song on the Billboard charts. Has conducted the New York Philharmonic strings on sessions that he has scored.

Plays with several bands in Fort Lauderdale and Miami, including the five-piece blues band 'Nickel and Dime' – which Gary Brooker jammed with during his and Franky's Florida holiday, May 1998.

Later ran Peter Solley Productions, a company producing MIDI files: visit their website

Pete's other career (in ice-cream


HARUM MAN QUITS (from Sounds, 3 July 1976)

PROCOL HARUM have announced a line-up change just before they headline an open air concert at York this Sunday.

Alan Cartwright, bass guitarist, has left the group. His place has been taken by Chris Copping who was originally the group’s bassist before moving to keyboards.

A new keyboard player has thus been added to the group, Pete Solley. Pete was one of Chris Farlowe’s Thunderbirds back in the Sixties and has also worked with Arthur Brown, Terry Reid, Paladin and SNAFU.

He makes his British debut with the group at York. (thanks, Per)


1997 interview with Pete Solley for this website, by Ronald L Smith

2012: Pete's other career (in ice-cream)

How Eddie Jobson might have joined Procol Harum in Peter Solley's place

Sessions list: all non-PH and non-Paramounts records (up to 1986) to which Procol Harum members contributed

A snippet about a close encounter between Peter and Procol Harum in 1967 before AWSoP

Farfisa organ page at BtP


More Procol personnel



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