SIXTIES hit A Whiter Shade Of Pale was played in a
courtroom yesterday as two members of pop band Procol Harum clashed over who
wrote the song.
Matthew Fisher, the group’s organist, is claiming a half share of copyright and £1million earnings on the 1967 smash.
The classically-trained musician insists he is entitled because he thought up the song’s haunting, Bach-like organ theme — and played it on a keyboard in court.
Fisher, 60, says he should get back-paid royalties.
[Of course this is really Dave Knights and Gary Brooker]
But singer Gary Brooker, 61, has always said HE was responsible
for the music that was put to the mysterious words by Keith Reid.
As the case opened at the High Court in London, Fisher’s QC Iain Purvis said: “One always risks a ‘Who are The Beatles?’ moment in cases such as this.”
But the judge Mr Justice Blackburne studied music as well as law and assured the counsel: “I am of a certain age.” He plans to have a keyboard in his chambers so he can play the tune to himself.
The record was at No1 for five weeks during the famous “Summer of Love”. It sold 10million copies and has been voted one of the greatest pop songs of all time.
Brooker argues that it is odd Fisher waited 39 years to claim a share. Mr Purvis told the court that Fisher, now a computer programmer in Croydon, did not realise he had a legal claim back then.
The case continues.
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