Here's the Procol text from the souvenir programme. It's evidently digested from many sources – some will be familiar to people who frequent this website – and it undoubtedly serves to give some needful background information to the non-Paler who might have come to the Marquee: but it contains numerous mistakes or misunderstandings, and even the discography (a good idea!) has some notable omissions. The spelling on the tickets and posters was in similar need of spell-checking (but see the foot of the page) ... and the backstage passes – though they spelt 'Procol' and 'Harum' correctly – managed to get the year wrong!
Procol Harum -1967
Shine On Brightly -1967
A Salty Dog -1969
Broken Barricades -1971
In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra -1972
Grand Hotel -1973
Exotic Birds and Fruit -1974
BBC Live In Concert -1974
Procol's Ninth -1975
Something Magic -1977
The Prodigal Stranger -1991
The Long Goodbye -1995
Pandora's Box -1999
The Paramounts: Whiter Shades Of R'n'B -1983
Gary Brooker: No More Fear Of Flying -1979
Gary Brooker: Lead Me To The Water -1982
Gary Brooker: Within Our House -1996
'Our heart is in the blues, or in the lungs of some giant organ,' – Gary Brooker
Procol Harum have always been groundbreakers.
Garry [sic] Brooker, having shared a stage with the Beatles at age 20, was 'ready to retire' when he began writing with wordsmith Keith Reid whose ability to combine classical concepts with contemporary humour was the perfect foil to Brooker's extraordinary "poperatic" voice. Reid was considered a formal (sixth) member of the band, although he never [sic] joined them on stage, preferring the curtains to the spotlight. Procol Harum had begun playing Brooker's own, self-taught arrangements live with orchestras as early as 1969 (Deep Purple's Concerto for Group and Orchestra didn't hit the Albert Hall until the following year) and the world had yet to hear Sergeant Pepper. But it didn't start there ...
Variously described as R&B and Prog Rock the boys shocked themselves out of Southend [sic] with the 11,000,000 seller massive worldwide hit – A Whiter Shade of Pale in May 1967. Earlier the same year they had begun as The Paramounts [sic!]- once described as the Rolling Stones' favourite band – as an outlet for Brooker and Reid compositions [sic!]. By the time they were known as Procol Harum [sic], Ray Rowyer [sic] (gtr) and Bobby Harrison (drums) had been replaced by Robin Trower (Gtr) and BJ Wilson (Drums), former associates of Brooker in Southend. Mathew [sic] Fisher (Org) and David Knights (Bass) completed the line up and although performing infrequently, recorded (1). [the bracketed numbers presumably refer to the discography]
Of their many releases, Procul's [sic] Ninth was noted especially for Keith Reid's scholarly lyrics and Gary Brooker's superb piano playing. Pandora's Box from Leiber & Stoller produced (10) returned them to UK singles charts of 1975. Reissued Whiter Shade of Pale was UK Top Ten hit in 1972. Cube reissued (1) + (3) and (2) + (4) as double packages.
The band averaged about a hundred regular gigs a year, right through to their dissolution in 1977. Yet the fact that they habitually sold-out the big venues across Europe and America (not to mention their quirky forays into Poland, their Presidential invitations to Mexico, and their command performance of The Blue Danube for Strauss HQ in Vienna) still comes as news to many otherwise-enlightened music fans.
Though the 1980s saw no official Harum activity, their orchestral oeuvre remained in demand, as Gary Brooker frequently accepted invitations to perform Procol music, alongside his growing solo-album repertoire. The show today is a great tribute to one of Rock's enduring legends. Procol Harum have truly pioneered musical collaborations and directions [sic].
Personnel changes notably; Trower leaving to form Jude and later The Robin Trower Band, Mick Grabham arriving and Pette [sic] Sollie [sic] joined on keyboards with Copping reverting to bass after spell since (6) as organist set foundations for the band to develop into a sort of Brooker's Pool of Procol Players. The death of drummer BJ Wilson finally closed the pioneering chapter.
A sort of circle was completed in 1995 [sic] at a fabulous concert with the London Symphony Orchestra, promoting a CD of the group's classic songs, elicited the longest ovation in the Barbican Theatre's history. More than 30 years of inspiration, collaboration and not a little perspiration have resulted in deserved adulation. If you're not already one of the devoted millions – prepare to join the ranks.
Paler davelee adds:
They may have got it wrong to start with, but they got there in the end.
If anyone wants these posters, they can have them (e-mail link above) for the price of postage and packing.
Below: before (left) and after (right) ... the band's name has been mis-printed hundreds of times, of course: but is this the first evidence of its ever having been noticed and put right?