These excerpts from New Musical Express, kindly selected for 'Beyond the Pale' by Yan Friis, show AWSoP rated significantly differently by the readership and the staff; Procol Harum gig on, but there's already a retrospective feel to their press coverage.
NME, February 21, 1976:
Front page headlines:
SMITH SLAMS RIMBAUD EXCLUSIVE (big pic of Patti Smith)
First dates and venues have now been confirmed for the March tour by Procol Harum, plans for which were revealed by NME last week. They are Canterbury Kent University (March 2), Uxbridge Brunel University (6), Bournemouth Winter Gardens (17), Coventry Warwick University (18), Lancaster University (19), Brighton Top Rank (24), Hastings Pier Pavilion (26) and Aylesbury Friars (27). Further dates are at present being finalised and will be announced shortly. The band - who returned this week from a highly successful tour of Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia and Poland - will also be filming their own 30-minute show for Tyne Tees TV on March 5.
NME Top 5:
1. ( 3) December '63, Four Seasons
2. ( 1) Forever And Ever, Slik
3. ( 2) Mama Mia, ABBA
4. (11) Rodrigo's Guitar Concerto, Manuel & The Music Of The Mountains
5. ( 6) Love Machine, Miracles
1. ( 1) Desire, Bob Dylan
2. ( 5) The Very Best Of Slim Whitman, Slim Whitman
3. ( 2) How Dare You, 10cc
4. ( 4) The Best Of Roy Orbison, Roy Orbison
5. ( 8) Station To Station, David Bowie
Main single reviews by Mick Farren
Bruce Springsteen, Tenth Avenue Freeze Out
Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, White White Dove
Steeleye Span, Hard Times Of Old England
John Fogerty, Almost Saturday Night
Deodato, Also Sprach Zarathustra
Emmylou Harris, Here There And Everywhere
The Hollies, Boulder To Birmingham
Status Quo, Rain
Main album reviews:
Boxer, Below The Belt
I Roy, Truths And Rights
U Roy, Dread In A Babylon
The Hollies, Write On
The Drifters, There Goes My First Love
edited by Fred Dellar
Puzzling Agglomeration of Procol Revivalists
Could you dig into your files and provide me with a list of all Procol Harum's singles and albums 'cos I've had no success in tracing them through record shops.
Peter Burrows, Halewood, Liverpool.
I'm trying to compile a Procol Harum discography - excluding reissues - so could you list all Procol's 'A' and 'B' sides after Whiter Shade Of Pale and prior to the live Conquistador of '72?
Richard Solly, Potters Bar, Herts.
According to my limited knowledge, Robin Trower did not exist before forming the group of the same name. Can you, therefore, provide a potted history of his early activities?
G. Green, Birmingham.
Gary Brooker (piano / vocal), Barrie Wilson (drums), Robin Trower (guitar) and Chris Copping (bass) [sic] formed a band called The Paramounts in 1962 and recorded a series of singles for Parlophone, these being: Poison Ivy / I Feel Good All Over (R5093), Little Pretty Bitty One [sic] / A Certain Girl (R5107), It Won't Be Long / I'm The One Who Loves You (R5155), Bad Blood / Do I? (R5187), Blue Ribbons / Cuttin' In (R5272), You Never Had It So Good / Don't Ya Like My Love? (R5351).
Then in 1967 Brooker met Keith Reid and they formed Procol Harum to record A Whiter Shade Of Pale / Lime Street Blues (Deram 126), while Trower began working with a band called The Jam and Wilson joined George Bean and The Runners, Copping having left The Paramounts earlier so that he could attend university.
Wilson and Trower rejoined Procol to make the band's first album Procol Harum (Regal Zonophone SLRZ1001 - 1967), which was followed by Shine On Brightly (SLRZ1004 - 1968) and A Salty Dog (SLRZ1009 - 1969), then Copping returned for Home (SLRZ1014 - 1970) which was virtually a Paramount reunion.
During their stay with Regal Zonophone Procol also produced such singles as Homburg / Good Captain Clack (RZ3003), A Salty Dog / Long Gone Geek (RZ3019) and Quite Rightly So / In The Wee Small Hours Of Sixpence (RZ3007).
1971 found the band signed to Chrysalis, though their initial album [Broken Barricades] for the label received an Island number (ILPS9158). This they followed with their Live In Concert (CHR1004 - 1972) elpee, made with the aid of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra; Grand Hotel (CHR1037 - 1973), Exotic Birds And Fruit (CHR1058 - 1974) and Procol's Ninth (CHR1080 - 1975).
Seven singles have also appeared on Chrysalis - Conquistador / Luskus Delph (CHS2003 - 1972), Robert's Box / A Rum Tale (CHS2010 - 1973), Souvenir From London [sic] / Toujours L'Amour (CHS2015 - 1973), Nothing But The Truth / Drunk Again (CHS2032 - 1974), Final Thrust / Taking The Time (CHS2079 - 1975) and As Strong As Samson / The Unquiet Zone (CHS 2084 - 1976), while the band can also be heard on the Over The Rainbow album (ZCHR1079 - 1975) and Isle Of Wight / Atlanta Pop Festival (CBS66311 - 1971).
Fly / Cube and Music For Pleasure are also responsible for various reissues comprised of material recorded during Procol's Regal Zonophone period. (see here)
As for Robin Trower, well, he left the band in 1971 to form Jude, along with Frankie Miller, James Dewar and Clive Bunker. However, Jude split after just a few months abd in late 1972 the Robin Trower Band was put together. OK?
NME, February 28, 1976
The NME staff names the 100 best singles of all time:
NME Hot 100
1. Like A Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan (CBS)
2. Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane, The Beatles (Parlophone)
3. River Deep-Mountain High, Ike & Tina Turner (London)
4. I Get Around / Don't Worry Baby, The Beach Boys (Capitol)
5. My Generation, The Who (Brunswick)
47. A Whiter Shade Of Pale, Procol Harum (Regal Zonophone) [sic]
They also mention the song in the fax and info article that supports the chart.:
... Greatest chart success by British artists on the continent were by Tom Jones with Delilah (No 1 in Germany for 14 weeks), Procol Harum with A Whiter Shade Of Pale (No 1 in France for 11 weeks) and Cliff Richard with Lucky Lips (No. 1 in Germany for 10 weeks) ...
NME, May 15, 1976
Two ads for the Decca Roots compilation.
NME, May 22, 1976
...At Lyceum Friday for Sutherland Bros. & Quiver gig: Nick Mason, Dave Gilmour of P. Floyd, Ian MacLagan, Procol's Mick Grabham and current Roxy odd-job bassist Ricky Wills...
NME, June 12, 1976
(The NME readers vote for the best singles of all time, more than 10,000 voted!)
NME Readers' Top 100 Singles
1. Layla, Derek & The Dominos (Polydor)
2. My Generation, The Who (Brunswick)
3. Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane, The Beatles (Parlophone)
4. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, The Rolling Stones (Decca)
5. Hey Jude / Revolution, The Beatles (Apple)
7. A Whiter Shade Of Pale, Procol Harum (Deram)
NME, June 26, 1976
Tour news round-up
PROCOL HARUM are to top a special one-off concert in York Museum Grounds on Sunday, July 4, as part of that city's Arts Festival. No other gigs by the band are planned at this time.
The Mammoth Task: Yan's extracts from the first 52 weeks of Procol press in the NME
Swimming Against the Tide: Yan's extracts from the remaining ten years of Procol press in the NME