Procol Harum

Beyond
the Pale 

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Procol Harum Pedigree Part One

1967 to 1977


The Procol Harum story starts in Southend-on-Sea, UK, where several schoolfriends came together as The Paramounts. By the middle of 1963 they were ready to turn pro ... and their reputations spread nationally after the Rolling Stones dubbed them the best R&B group in the country. None of their singles took off, though the Leiber-Stoller cover Poison Ivy had some success.

Claes Johansen's Procol biography suggests that the Paramounts had many more incarnations, making them a fit subject for a pedigree of their own at some later date!

Brooker's transition from blues disciple to psychedelic seer was symptomatic of the times. It was a fascinating and fertile period which saw the creation of Traffic, Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, The Move...

In 1966, Brooker met lyricist Keith Reid. They intended to be songwriters but could find noone willing to record their work ... a group, then, was formed out of necessity. Brooker and Reid advertised for players for a "project with Young Rascals / Dylan-type sound"...

Paramounts 1 1961
to 1963
 

|
Gary
Brooker

piano/voc
|
Bob
Scott

vocals
quit music
|
Mick
Brownlee

drums
bricklaying
|
Robin
Trower

guitar
|
Chris
Copping

bass
university
 
Paramounts 2 Aug 1963
to Oct 1966
 

|
Gary
Brooker

keybd/voc
|
Diz
Derrick

bass
reverted to studies
|
BJ
Wilson

drums
|
Robin
Trower

guitar
   
Reid and Brooker held auditions for the new band, probably already called Procol Harum ... Proto-Harum Very early
1967
Claes Johansen's research names the players he considers the first generation assembled by Brooker and Reid, but exact details are debatable. Whoever they were, they probably rehearsed material that would end up on the first album, plus Alpha, Homburg, and In the Wee Small Hours ... , but seems to have left no recorded traces. It was managed by the legendary Guy Stevens

|
?
guitar
|
?
organ
|
?  
bass
|
Gary
Brooker

piano/voc
|
Keith
Reid

words
|
?  
drums
 
Procol Harum 1 April to
July 1967
Procol Harum 1 was only the start - but what a start! Hammond player Matthew Fisher replaced Alan Morris and made his definitive mark on the first
single:
A Whiter Shade of Pale went to No 1 in Britain, staying there six weeks.

PH1 managed only a dozen gigs - then Royer and Harrison left to form Freedom. (It transpired that jazzer Bill Eyden drummed on the hit 'A'-side anyway.) Brooker called up his old mates ... Wilson was drummer of choice anyway, and now he was willing!


|
Ray
Royer

guitar
|
Bobby
Harrison

drums
|
Matthew
Fisher

organ
|
David
Knights

bass
|
Gary
Brooker

piano/voc
|
Keith
Reid

words
formed own groups: Freedom, then SNAFU  
Did good business in America, where there was a circuit of rock theatres suitable for the sort of concerts they were doing. Not so in Britain. Consequently, their UK following dwindled. Procol Harum 2 Jul 1967
to Sep 1969
Line-up 2 cut three albums: Procol Harum, Shine On Brightly and A Salty Dog. Single Homburg was their only hit for years. However, their influence was seen in new rock'n'art groups like King Crimson, Nice, Yes, Genesis ...

|
Matthew
Fisher

organ
into producing
|
David
Knights

bass
into management
|
Gary
Brooker

piano/voc
|
Keith
Reid

words
|
BJ
Wilson

drums
|
Robin
Trower

guitar
   
With the exception of Keith Reid, line-up #3 were all ex-Paramounts. Recorded a final Regal Zonophone album, Home, moved to Chrysalis and recorded Broken Barricades. In 1971, four years after their sensational start, they embarked on their very first tour of Britain - as support act to Jethro Tull. Robin Trower then left to form his own band. Matthew Fisher produced three very successful albums for him, two of which made the US top ten during the mid 70s. Procol Harum 3 Sep 1969
to Jul 1971
 

|
Gary
Brooker

piano/voc
|
Keith
Reid

words (organ)
|
BJ
Wilson

drums
|
Chris
Copping

bass, organ
|
Robin
Trower

guitar, bass
went solo
   
Enter Brummie guitarist Dave Ball and bass-player Alan Cartwright, BJ's former school-friend ... Procol Harum's first major London concert in Sep 1971 - by which time they'd completed eleven American tours. Procol Harum 4 Jul 1971
to Sep 1972
Nov 1971 they play with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. The concert is released as album Live at Edmonton (#5 US, #48 UK). Conquistador became their first hit single for years. However, Ball left and joined Long John Baldry's band...

|
Dave
Ball

guitar
quit
|
Alan
Cartwright

bass
|
Gary
Brooker

piano/voc
|
Keith
Reid

words
|
BJ
Wilson

drums
|
Chris
Copping

organ
   
With line-up #5, they achieved unprecedented stability. New guitarist Mick Grabham (ex-Cochise) was always a great Procol fan and his style fitted admirably. Cut Grand Hotel, Exotic Birds And Fruit and Procol's Ninth which yielded an unexpected Top 20 hit, Pandora's box. Procol Harum 5 Sep 1972
to Jun 1976
 

|
Alan
Cartwright

bass
|
Gary
Brooker

piano/voc
|
Keith
Reid

words
|
BJ
Wilson

drums
|
Chris
Copping

organ
|
Mick
Grabham

guitar
   
In 1976 Alan Cartwright left, and Chris Copping reverted to bass. Enter Pete Solley (ex-SNAFU, inter alia) who added synthesisers to the Procol sound on Something Magic, and replaced the Hammond with a Farfisa organ ... Procol Harum 6 Jun 1976
to March 1977

|
Gary
Brooker

piano/voc
|
Keith
Reid

words
|
B.J.
Wilson

drums
|
Chris
Copping

bass
|
Mick
Grabham

guitar
|
Pete
Solley

organ, synth
   
After Something Magic, they slowly ground to a halt without telling anyone. Former Elton John bassist Dee Murray replaced Copping for the last US tour. In June 1977, Mick Grabham declared that he'd quit Procol Harum. Yet ... Procol Harum 7 April to
May 1977

|
Gary
Brooker

piano/voc
|
Keith
Reid

words
|
B.J.
Wilson

drums
|
Dee
Murray

bass
|
Mick
Grabham

guitar
|
Pete
Solley

organ,synth
   
... there was a single, last gig, restoring Cartwright on bass, and a new guitarist, at London's Wembley Conference Centre, marking the Queen's Silver Jubilee. AWSoP was named joint winner (with Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody) as Best British Pop Single 1952-1977 at the British Record Industry's Britannia Awards. This was
the last Procol concert for a long time, and BJ's final gig with Procol. Now Brooker made
solo albums and played in Clapton's band. Reid went into publishing and management. BJ toured with Joe Cocker.
Procol Harum 8 18 Oct 1977  

|
Alan
Cartwright

bass
quit music biz
|
Gary
Brooker

piano/voc
|
Keith
Reid

words
|
BJ
Wilson

drums

Died 8 Oct 1990

|
Chris
Copping

organ
|
Tim
Renwick

guitar
 
>>> "... yet the tree be not dead; for from the roots of the elder a new life will spread ..." >>>

Original Family Tree by Pete Frame; extra material from Claes Johansen.
Adapted for the web by
Jonas Söderström (please mail amendments)


Pedigree Part Two | Peter Frame's early family tree of Procol Harum | Where do these surnames originate?

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