Procol Harum

the Pale

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Matthew Fisher

Larry Pennisi

Larry Pennisi's former website featured the following tribute:

Organist extraordinaire Matthew Fisher: founding member and co-writer of many classic PH moments.

This photo of Matthew in costume in 1967 is what the Fillmore East used in their program for the 27 June 1969 Procol show. Ironically, Matthew is seen here 'lost amidst a sea of wheat ...'

This version of the photograph is from the Homburg sheet music released by Essex Music International in 1967. The photo's purple hue is the original tint from the sheet music.

Matthew is one of the great unsung musicians of rock. After a brief stint at the Guildhall School for Music in England Matthew, having become somewhat uninterested in the academia of the moment, placed several adverts in Melody Maker and soon enough attracted interest from a number of local and soon-to-be-known artists. Choosing Procol Harum seemed to be the most interesting gig and quite rightly so.

His work, so influential on that first magic LP, was only the beginning of a long creative road. As interesting and innovative as his work was on A Whiter Shade of Pale, Matthew contributed far more than most people realize. His stunning, intricately-carved organ machinations on pieces like A Christmas Camel and Salad Days heralded a new frontier in the annals of contemporary music.

Often copied and never duplicated, Matthew continued to forge ahead in an era when most rock keyboard players were eking out whiny, drizzly sounds from Farfisa portable organs. Never one to compromise to this day, Matthew Fisher stands at the vanguard of creative rock keyboard playing. Choosing to ignore the progressive paths of Keith Emerson or Rick Wakeman, he may have edged himself out in the popularity polls but never in the hearts of those who deem 'sensitivity' to be an integral part of music.

Matthew Fisher's BtP page

The UK Homburg sheet-music cover

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