Procol Harum

Beyond
the Pale 

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Gary Brooker, MBE

29 May 1945, Hackney, London


Gary was awarded the MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours on 14 June 2003 in recognition of his charitable services. His message to the website is here. The newspaper reports mentioned his musical activities primarily, of course. The Guardian referred to him as the 'singer / songwriter and founder of the seminal band Procol Harum'. Quite rightly so. Pictures of Gary and Franky at the Palace are here.

Main instrument
Piano, vocal: also banjo, harmonica, koto ...  picture of Gary playing guitar with Procol is here

Gary was taught the piano by Ronald Meachen; in 1967 GB told an NME interviewer that he also played cornet and trombone. See here for a moment's Brooker trumpeting.

He was born at Hackney Hospital, 230 Homerton High Street, Hackney, E8, according to Pete Frame's Rockin' Around Britain (Omnibus Press 1989).

Recordings by Gary's father, Harry Brooker: see here and here: review here; Gary's mother, see here

 

A Salty Dog

A Whiter Shade of Pale (45 RPM)

Procol Harum

Shine on Brightly

Grand Hotel

Home

Broken Barricades

Live with Edmonton Symphony

The Prodigal Stranger

Exotic Birds and Fruit

Procol's Ninth

Something Magic

Four Brooker solo albums

The Symphonic Music
of Procol Harum

One More Time

The Well's on Fire

Live in Ledreborg (CD, DVD, download) DVD: Live in Copenhagen DVD: Live at the Union Chapel One Eye to the Future

Spirit of Nøkken

DVD: I'm Coming Home: The Paramounts' Reunion, 2005: click here to order

Left: Gary Brooker as the October pin-up for 1967 in Jackie magazine (thanks, Charlie)

Gary's work, live and on record, with Kate Bush in 1982 onwards

Gary on two Colin John CDs (he's also on the Lonnie Donegan CD, Muleskinner Blues)

Gary Brooker, 'Artist in Profile' at London's Barbican, December 1999

Gary sings an Ian MacDonald / Peter Sinfield song on CD

Addicted to Noise Birthday: PH's GB

Tunes Music Network on Gary Brooker

'As always PH takes the uncommercial road': a 1996 Radio Azzurra interview with Gary

Gary in wide-ranging conversation with Roland from BtP

Gary in a long and absorbing interview with ClassicRockPage.com

Links to many interviews

Brooker on Dutch TV, 13 February 1998

Brooker on Swedish TV, 1 February 1999

Gary's 1999 CV

The Commander's Testimonials:
Brooker on his fellow-Procolers

Gary Brooker's song-introductions in concert

Major interview from Shine On

A whimsical pseudonym

Some 45 picture sleeves

Gary Brooker inducted to the RockWalk

The Parrot Inn: Gary Brooker's pub

Gary makes a Silver Jubilee clock

Gary introduces some of his favourite songs on German Radio, October 1999: comments on his own work too.

Fly Fishing in Clear Waters,
which Gary composed and directed.

Peter and the Wolf: Gary Brooker learns to fly ...

Brooker plays Hooker (John Lee, that is)

Hitting the Fan: film with Brooker music

Gary Brooker biography (from a Ringo Starr homepage): see also here
Gary playing at the Bosnia Benefit, NYC, 21 November 1995 Gary played AWSoP at Mick Ronson's memorial concert (order CD here)
Gary's World Wildlife Fund track Gary with Paul McCartney's Rockestra (1979)
Many pages: Delta: Gary's commission from the Royal Danish Ballet Many pages: Gary's 1998 Brass Band commission, Le Bourdon des Alpes
Gary poses naked for charity Gary writes about railways
Brooker the stars' sideman Brooker on the 60s and acid
Gary Brooker in a 1970 Belgian fine-art portrait Auction of a guitar signed by Gary,
Eric Clapton and Mike Rutherford
Gary Brooker's BASCA gold badge Gary's pro-Haïti show in
 France, February 2010
Gary and Franky's wedding
'Our Procol Haven' from the UK's Daily Mail 
Gary and the Red Nose Day 2009
song-writing/recording
Gary collaborates with The Drifters A 24 year-old with a Brooker tattoo
Gary plays the hoover – October 2011 Gary's page at NNDB – did you
know he had a Grammy?
Gary hospitalised in South Africa, May 2012 GB's formal music qualifications

Gary Brooker MBE with Ray Davies of The Kinks and the actor John Hurt, pictured on 23 May 2012
at London's Royal Academy, where many prominent figures from the past sixty years'
explosion in British creative life had gathered
to mark the imminent jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.


Gary plays AWSoP with the SAS Band at Chiddingfold. 

Photograph by Stuart Catterson, © Bridge Recordings: click on the picture to visit the SAS Band website

Click on this little picture to download a quicktime video that features GB along with others at the Heinkeken Night of the proms 1993 singing All You Need is Love. John O tells us that 'the segment features Gary prominently, with a bit of Sting, definitely way cool, covers about 2 verses ... , but it's 4.9 MB. Our illustration is a still from the video, of course

 

Other bands Gary has played in ...

The Paramounts

Liquorice John Death ...

No Stiletto Shoes

The Gary Brooker Ensemble

Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings

Ringo Starr's All-Starr band

Eric Clapton's Band (book excerpts here) : more info on this Clapton website.

Willie and the Poor Boys

Gary's non-PH / Paramounts sessions (up to 1986) 

British Rock Symphony

Gary Brooker band (1983)

SAS Band

Rock Meets Classic

He was also backed by Jethro Tull at a Friends of the Earth benefit in October 1994

Godalming Town Band / Sinfold Concert Band, 2011

The Palers' Band: 2006 in Denmark, 2013 in Germany

 


More Procol personnel


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