Procol Harum: The Ghosts Of A Whiter Shade of Pale



Formed in the 1960s, Prog Rock British group Procol Harum are best known for their multi million selling single A Whiter Shade of Pale which is the most played record by a British artist of the last 70 years. Features exclusive interviews with band members Gary Brooker, Keith Reid, Matthew Fisher, Robin Trower, Dave Ball, Mick Grabham, Geoff Whitehorn, Chris Copping and Dave Bronze. Also includes interviews with Led Zeppelin s Jimmy Page, film director Alan Parker, as well as former managers, DJs and many others.

Tells the story of their formation in Essex in the 1960s, their split on their tenth anniversary in 1977 and their reforming in 1991. Gives details of one of the costliest court cases in British music history whereby a judge awarded a 40% share in the copyright of A Whiter Shade of Pale, to a former organist of the band. Lead singer Gary Brooker and lyricist Keith Reid always claimed credit for the hit, which became part of the soundtrack of 1967. But in his ruling, the judge decided that organist Matthew Fisher was entitled to both credit and royalties. Brings the story right up to date with detail of their album releases and tours over the last decade.

340 pages

Price: £19.95.  $29.00

About the author:

Author Henry Scott-Irvine has a background in music and arts documentaries as well as presenting and producing a weekly radio show for Resonance 104.4 fm London. His TV/DVD programme credits include Punk Attitude, Elton At 60, Classic Albums, Status Quo The Party Ain’t Over Yet, John Lennon Night, Madonna Night, Michael Jackson Night, Music Of The Millennium aka The Top 100 Albums, and The Top 40 TV Music Moments, amongst others. Henry is now writing another book and is hoping to get some music documentaries funded.

Additional information

Weight 0.649 kg
Dimensions 23.4 × 15.6 × 1.7 cm


This excellent book covers Gary Brooker's early R'n'B group, The Paramounts, all line ups of Procol Harum, Gary's solo ventures and his side excursions with other well-known musicians such as Eric Clapton and Bill Wyman. Procol Harum's ground-breaking concerts and recordings with Classical Orchestras and Choirs are also described in meticulous detail in this well researched offering. Henry Scott-Irvine must be congratulated on delivering the best musical biography which I have ever read. He doesn't shy away from covering the bitter court case concerning the composing rights to A Whiter Shade of Pale. However for anyone that thinks that A Whiter Shade of Pale was the be all and end all of Procol Harum, think again. There are too many musical gems to name them all. They include A Salty Dog, As Strong as Samson, Pandora's Box and The Blink of an Eye. With interesting insights from Martin Scorsese, Sir Alan Parker, Jimmy Page and Sebastian Faulks this is a must for your bookshelf.
-Amazon Review
As a fan of Procol Harum from the minute I heard the opening notes of "A Whiter Shade of Pale" in 1967...I have waited a long time to learn more about the band. This book met all of my expectations: from the birth of the Paramounts, through the court battle over song credits...to the latest updates on Gary and the boys. This was the first time I was able to get the full story on the sad end to B.J. Wilson"s life...a most remarkable drummer! Read this book, break out the records and enjoy.
-Amazon Review
This is a well-written and exhaustive account of the recording and touring history of Procol Harum. It takes us from the days of the Paramounts in the Southend of the early sixties right through to the draining four-year court case that pitted the band's original organist against his former employers over forty years later. The coverage is comprehensive and well organised and the early chapters on the Southend scene are especially engrossing.
-Amazon Review
I wholeheartedly recommend this book to all PH fans in addition to any music fans. Henry Scott-Irvine captures the "feel" and mood of the 60's and this book is full of brilliant quotes, anecdotes and interesting music/band information. Super book - definitely unputdownable!
-Amazon Review