Procol Harum

the Pale

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B J Wilson

A Tribute from 'Whaling Stories'

The following tribute was published in the December 1996 issue of the Gary Brooker Fanzine from Germany, Whaling Stories. It is reprinted here by permission of the author and editor, Michael Ackermann:

Sketch of B.J. Wilson from 12/96 Whaling Stories - artist unknown.

" .....There are many questions coming in from you all. Sorry that I often don't know the answer. But again and again there is one question: What happened to B.J.? A lot of you share my opinion that Barrie was the greatest drummer and that he was born for Gary's music. He lived the music: It is incredible to find my own thoughts in so many letters saying that on Procol concerts you miss Robin, you miss Matthew but the most of all you miss B.J. !!! There is no substitute. So in today's newsletter we will look back a bit to such a wonderful musician.

B.J. learned his drumming in the boys brigade, which he joined at 12. He joined the Paramounts in August 1963. I think I don't have to tell you about the 14 years to follow.

When Procol stopped in 1977 and he went to the States, the only thing he asked was: When will we going to start again.........!

When I met Gary last time in summer, he told me a story which moved me a lot: It was after composing "A Salty Dog." He played it the first time to B.J. on a dark day in a London flat on the piano. When the music filled the room, suddenly a sunbeam came through the window and fell on Barrie's face to stay there. When Gary finished he said to him that it was the most beautiful song he ever heard. - For me it was clear now, why on so many concerts playing "A Salty Dog," Gary said that he was doing this song for a friend, "who is watching us from above" or something else, that reminds us on B.J.

To avoid any further speculation on the death of B.J. Wilson it should be known that Barrie became an alcoholic and as a result of his addiction he had an accident in 1987, which resulted in him being in a coma for nearly 3 years.

In October 1990 he at last found peace and was buried in Corvallis, Oregon.

We all miss him...."

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