Procol Harum

the Pale

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AWSoP follows Danish veteran rocker to the grave • Brian Wilson's funeral choice

Ekstra Bladet (Denmark) • Record Collector (UK)

More than a hundred friends, relatives and fellow-musicians participated in the funeral service Saturday 6. February 1999 for Danish veteran R'n'R artist Ivan 'Melvis' Haagensen. His casket was carried to the grave accompanied by the Procol Harum-classic A Whiter Shade of Pale on church organ, Danish tabloid newspaper Ekstra Bladet reports Sunday (7 February 1999).

Taking the name "Melvis" from an Elvis-travesty found in a Donald Duck comic-book, Melvis won several R'n'R contests in the late fifties which led to his first record, the single Trouble in 1959. This was followed by an album five years later, Melvis And The Gentlemen.

Around 1962-63 Melvis was one of the most popular R'n'R artists in Denmark, not only playing in his native country, but also doing gigs at the famous Star Club, Hamburg. Melvis's primary inspiration was Ray Charles, Georgie Fame and Zoot Money. Around 1970 he formed his own organ / bass / drums trio inspired by Hendrix, the Swedish duo Hansson & Karlsson – and perhaps The Nice.

In 1975 Melvis recorded an new album with well-known rock-songs as a part of the mid-seventies R'n'R-revival. His last album was recorded in 1989 with the title Siden 1958 ('Since 1958'). Melvis spent his last years in early retirement due to a still-deteriorating health. Melvis was 57.

Apparently there was no direct connection between Melvis and Procol. However, both Melvis and Gary were ardent Ray Charles fans, and both were keyboard-players. Melvis must have known about the PH-sound and perhaps he appreciated it, although he didn't play PH-songs on stage or on record.

Thanks to Niels-Erik Mortensen for sending this to BtP

Jim Corbett sends BtP part of a Brian Wilson interview from October 2008’s Record Collector. 'Thought it might be of interest,' writes Jim, 'Usually people seem to want it played at their wedding.'

More about A Whiter Shade of Pale | Procol Harum top the funeral charts

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