Procol Harum Organist Sues
for Whiter Shade of Pale Royalties
James Lumley, 13 November 2006
The former organist for music group Procol Harum should be given an equal
share in the royalties generated by the band's 1967 hit A Whiter Shade of
Pale, his lawyer told a London court.
Matthew Fisher, 60, is responsible for writing the baroque- inspired organ
track for the 10-million selling record that 'defined the Summer of Love' in
the UK, Fisher's lawyer, Iain Purvis QC, told the High Court today.
The record has been popular since its release at the height of 'flower
power' in May 1967, Purvis said. It was the No 1 single in the UK for five
weeks that year and has been covered 770 times by other artists, he said.
The song was referenced this year in the No 1 single I Wish I Were a Punk
Rocker' by pop artist Sandi Thom, 'of which your lordship may or may not
be familiar,'' Purvis told the judge, Justice William Blackburne.
The claim is 'strongly denied' by Fisher's former band mates, Gary Brooker
and Keith Reid, who have joint credit for the authorship of the track,
according to court documents submitted by their lawyers. It is 'bizarre'
that Fisher waited until now to bring the claim, according to the documents.
An electric organ has been set up in the court room for Fisher to play as
part of his evidence. Justice Blackburne, who said he was 'of an age to be
familiar' with the song and the Summer of Love, asked for the organ to be
left on while the court room was out of use to allow him to play the sheet
music submitted as evidence in the case.
Purvis today played recordings of the two organ solos, the organ melody, and
the original single recording to the court. Fisher is scheduled to give
evidence later today.