Procol Harum

the Pale

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"Shut up, Ethel, that's bloody rubbish "

MF's 1967 fellow musicians on the AWSoP intro

The following article, which mentions Matthew Fisher's organ-playing in the period just before AWSoP hit the charts, was submitted by Joan May, who found it in the book Unknown Legends of Rock 'n' Roll (Psychedelic Unknowns, Mad Geniuses, Punk Pioneers, Lo-Fi Mavericks & More) by Richie Unterberger (Miller-Freeman Books, San Francisco, CA, 1998, pp. 243-244, excerpt from a section on "Comic Relief -- Screaming Lord Sutch)

[After listing all the well-known musicians who played with Sutch, including Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Ritchie Blackmore, and Nicky Hopkins]:

Matthew Fisher also played with the band, warming up the crowds with the Whiter Shade of Pale riff just prior to throwing his lot in with
Procol Harum. Fisher, according to Sutch, "used to start off with a lot of classical music, 'cause he had a Hammond organ. And [drummer
Carlo Little] used to throw a bit of chalk at him or cigarette packet and say,

"Shut up, Ethel. That's bloody rubbish, we're in a rock and roll band. Our audience see you playing classical music, they'll drop us. So stop that shit."

Carlo had another gig about a month later, and he [MF] was tuning up the organ again with this classical stuff. So Carlo threw a cigarette packet at him and said, 'Stop it. They're coming in now. Play one of the rock and roll.' He [MF] said, 'Well, I just did that a couple of weeks ago on the start of a session. The producer went mad on it. He really appreciated it.' [Carlo said], 'We're not making records.'

"The next thing we knew, this guy [MF] said, 'That record I made, it's #18 in the charts.' And we said, 'What? 18 in the charts? What are you talking about?' It was A Whiter Shade of Pale, Matthew Fisher on the organ. The same thing he was playing that Carlo threw the thing at him.

Matthew Fisher's page at BtP

A similar story, going back earlier in time

Carlo and Matthew have buried the hatchet, as evidenced by their subsequent work and partying together see here

More about Ethel on Hammond

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