These excerpts from New Musical Express, kindly selected for 'Beyond the Pale' by Yan Friis, show the huge flurry of media interest in 'our boys' as they reached No 1 in the UK, as well as the facile nature of some of the era's journalism, as in the reference to Rock Hudson! The 'lack of visual appeal' comment was rather more penetrating.
Top 3 on the NME charts:
1 (3) A Whiter Shade Of Pale, Procol Harum
2 (1) Silence Is Golden, The Tremeloes
3 (6) There Goes My Everything, Engelbert Humperdinck
Tipped for the charts by Derek Johnson:
Four Tops, Seven Rooms Of Gloom
Cilla Black, What Good Am I?
Nancy Sinatra, You Only Live Twice
There's a half page interview (written by Jimmy Bell) with Procol Harum in this edition, nice live-photo too, title on the piece:
It's No 1! Decca's fastest selling single ever! But ... Procol Just Want To Eat And Sleep!
Procol on the way to a million; tour plans
Procol Harum's smash hit A Whiter Shade Of Pale is expected to reach half-a-million sales in Britain by this weekend - and looks almost certain to qualify for a Gold Disc on the strength of international sales within a fortnight. By Monday night - just over three weeks after release - it had achieved 356,000 sales in this country alone. In France it has notched 120,000 in ten days. The disc has now been released in every country in Western Europe, as well as in Australia and America.
The group's manager Jonathan Weston flies to the States next week to take charge of promotion there and arrange the Harum's first American visit. This will probably be in the third week of July.
Also being planned for the Harum is a series of concerts in major British cities in late September and early October. They will occupy the entire second half on the bill.
The group will shortly return to London Saville theatre to headline a Sunday concert, following their successful guest appearance last weekend with Jimi Hendrix.
They have recently recorded another four tracks, and these are expected to be the basis of their first LP. The group's next single, as yet unrecorded, will be another brand new Keith Reed [sic] - Gary Brooker composition.
On July 1, the group flies to Paris to star in a live French TV show titled Music Hall de France. Next Monday (13th), a French camera unit arrives in London to film several Harum promotional sequences.
Excerpt from a piece concentrating on Jimi Hendrix but including a review of his concert at the Saville Theatre:
... three first-rate acts, all of them attempting something new, all of them original and very interesting ... The Jimi Hendrix Experience - raucous, earthy and brilliant; the Procol Harum - Britain's most talked-about group at the moment - and the first major appearance of Denny Laine with his Electric String Band.
... The Procol Harum? A good, very good sound. The haunting piano coming through in every number, and the very distinctive voice of Gary Brooker. Musically they are excellent, but their act lacked any visual appeal. But since they've been together such a short time this can easily be forgiven ...
One-sixth of a page advert for A Whiter Shade of Pale in this edition too. Seems Deram was a bit late, since the single already had hit No 1
Tailpieces by the Alley Cat:
In Decca Records' entire history, no single sold half-a-million quicker than Procol Harum will ... Tony Hall's wife is secretary to Procol Harum's personal manager Jonathan Weston ... Procol Harum's personal manager Jonathan Weston resembles a taller John Lennon ... Gary Brooker (lead singer with Procol Harum) resembles a younger Rock Hudson ...
Read more from the first year of Procol press