Valued BtP contributor Jim Corbett sends this useful article about Procol's UK TV career. Click on the thumbnail to see the pictures
Our look back at another of this country’s long-forgotten TV pop show classics concludes with a stunning live studio performance by Procol Harum, proving that there was much more to them than that hit single. Originally stemming from Southend-on-Sea, Essex, the group qualified for their slot on The Geordie Scene because their then band member, guitarist Mick Grabham, hailed from the region.
Hosted once again by DJ Dave Eager, or ‘Beaver’, as he was affectionately (or otherwise) known, the programme kicked-off a run-down of that week’s Top 20 albums, as compiled by the Sheffield-based radio station, Radio Hallam. (Gallagher & Lyle’s Breakaway was at No 1, David Bowie’s Station to Station was No 2.)
Time then for the music. Up first, a stunning live rendition of Conquistador, a track from the band’s 1967 self-titled début album, and a belated No 22 hit in August 1972. With the briefest of introductions from the host and then band leader and vocalist, Gary Brooker, tracks such as As Strong As Samson and Shine on Brightly immediately followed, proving Procul’s [sic] chops.
Flanked by the show’s usual motley crew of young fans, the second part of the show opened with a performance of their classic Pandora's Box, a No 16 smash in August 1975. Another audience-pleasing nod to their ’60s golden days came with a spirited run-through of their July 1969’s No 27 hit A Salty Dog. Theirfive-track performance wrapped with a version of The Unquiet Zone, a track culled from their then latest long-player, Procol’s Ninth. The 25 minute-long programme was aired for the first time a little over two weeks later, at tea-time on 21 March (and on selected other ITV regions, notably Southern, a few days after that). The second series of The Geordie Scene series concluded one week later with a headlining slot by Jarrow’s finest, John Miles.
Fans of the group interested in viewing more surviving footage of Procol Harum resplendent in their mid-70s’ moustachioed splendour will ﬁnd plenty to enjoy in their appearance on London Weekend Television’s Supersonic (aired on 8 November 1975, notable for their performance of The Final Thrust) and their much-bootlegged eleven-song set from the Cologne studios of the German WDR pop show, Rockpalast (on 17 January 1976).
And so, aside from a one-off, 25-minute, Best Of compilation, aired on Tyne-Tees on New Year’s Day 1977, that was it; the series was cancelled by Tyne-Tees and never recommissioned. But thankfully, due ‘ to the station’s commendable archiving policy, all episodes still reside in the vaults. Tyne-Tees’ original Quadmaster tape of the show (library number 1656) was transferred to the modern format by the British Film Institute on 21 March 2000.
Keith Badman (www.keithbadman.com), special thanks to Richard Higgins at ITN Source (www.itnsource.com).