Procol Harum

the Pale 

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Procol Out to Beat the World Again

Don Short, Daily Mail, 1969

The pop refugees, Procol Harum, are back. Their nine-month exile after the rags-to-riches collapse in Britain is over.

They've returned to London from America, bursting with new energy and aiming at the charts again.

Lead singer Gary Brooker said: "'We've got a bit of bread and security stashed behind us, and this time we will know how to avoid the knocks."

Londoners Procol Harum were the group who two years ago found themselves at No 1 in the world with A Whiter Shade of Pale.

It was just as though they had pulled the lever of a one-arm bandit and hit the jackpot. The group were swamped by the fortune and intoxication of success.

Said Gary yesterday: "Within two weeks we got rid of our manager ...a week later there was a split in the group's ranks ... a couple of days after that we were all exhausted.

"We just didn't know what had hit us. We just weren't ready for it. We didn't see anything in perspective. We were on top of a mountain of success and we just couldn't hold it."

Gary paused to digest it all. Then he shrugged: "Six months later we went to our agents and they told us: 'Sorry, we can't find any work for you' - and there wasn't. It was the final crunch and there was no alternative. We had to leave England to work and eat."

Procol took flight to America: their manager Tony Secunda put their contract up for sale for 75,000.

Two Americans, Bennett Glotzer and Ronnie Lyons, took up the offer and now travel with the five boys in the group. The two Americans are now in England with them.

Said Gary: "So we're back. Home is home whatever anyone else thinks about it. Home is where mother is ... and that's true. But this time, as a group, we won't make the same mistakes. The pitfalls we know about, and we're geared for it all."

He and Keith Reid - who composed A Whiter Shade - have written another haunting song, Salty Dog, which is out next week, and is bound for the top.

"We're not worried if the fans have forgotten us," said Gary. "Remember, we were unknowns before and we made it. And if we're lucky we can make it again now."

I'm ready to give Procol Harum a second spin. Aren't you?

 (Thanks, Phil Skerratt, for lending your Procol scrapbook to BtP)

More Procol History in print at BtP 




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