Procol Harum frontman Gary Brooker scored another hit as he defended himself in the witness box against an estimated £1 million claim from a former band member.
His replies brought not only laughter from the court and barrister
cross-examining him, but also from the 61-year-old judge who shares the same age
as the pop singer.
Brooker, whose 1967 hit A Whiter Shade of Pale sold 10 million copies, is being sued by Matthew Fisher, the organist who claims he composed the organ solo and counterpoint melody on the record and deserves a share of the royalties.
Brooker was asked to remember the date of a joint interview with Fisher, who had been invited to play with Procol Harum on several occasions since quitting the band in 1969. The singer said he was not sure, but that it must have been in the last five years. Mr Justice Blackburne referred Brooker to a photograph accompanying the article.
"You have grey hair in the photograph," remarked the judge.
"I have had grey hair since 1977," said the singer.
Under cross-examination from Iain Purvis QC, representing Fisher, Brooker was asked about mobile phone ringtones which were now producing big royalties for him and the lyricist Keith Reid, another member of the original group.
Mr Purvis said that 65% of the ringtone sites on the internet offering A Whiter Shade Of Pale only provided the opening organ introduction to the hit.
Asked whether he thought it fair that Fisher was receiving no income although the ringtone was just the organ he claims to have composed, Brooker replied: "No I don't. I think they should be offering more than that."
Brooker said he had never heard Fisher complain he was unhappy that he had not been credited as co-author until the writ was issued last year.
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