Procol Harum

the Pale 

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Chris Thomas

Procol Harum's long-serving producer

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Albums produced:
Broken Barricades
Live with Edmonton Symphony
Grand Hotel
Exotic Birds and Fruit ('Is it on, Tommy?' asks Mick) (interview about this album)

... and the Liquorice John session

Chris Thomas interview on BBC Radio One
Keith Reid: 'He is just like another member of the band. We owe him a lot because he helped us pin our sound down. We have had him with us for some time now and I think that is very important. A producer gets better as he gets to know the band. The more he works with them, the more he is able to understand exactly what they want; he can get across their feelings. Recording is fascinating but very complex. To make a sound for yourself that stands out from the rest is much harder than it might seem. Chris has helped establish the Procol Harum sound with us and we couldn't have always gotten it without him. [Full source here


Chris Thomas : the Badfinger / Procol connection

From The Tragic Story of Badfinger by Dan Matovina, published by Frances Glover Books, available on this special link from or from Amazon UK

Late in 1972, Apple's English A&R chief, Tony King, finally came up with a prospective producer for the rejuvenation of Badfinger's self-produced recordings: Chris Thomas. Born in 1947, Thomas was a former keyboardist who'd bounced around in several bands before getting hired as a producer's assistant at George Martin's AIR Studios, in 1967.

Thomas soon encountered the good fortune to actually play on the Beatles' White Album, but production was his goal. By early 1973 Thomas had established himself by producing albums for The Climax Blues Band, Roxy Music, and John Cale. He'd also mixed Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon

But his primary claim to fame was Procol Harum. Their baroque stylings were well-suited to his classical training; perhaps the peak of their partnership being the Grand Hotel LP, which he'd completed in late 1972. 

Tony King played the album for Tom (Evans) who liked it. Tom brought it over to Park Avenue for Pete (Ham) to hear. "Pete really dug it," Tom later said, "We both decided we wanted Chris to do our next album." (thanks, Ken)

This article mentions Procol (misspelled of course!) and Procol producer Chris Thomas:

Paris 1919 was initially produced by Chris Thomas, who would subsequently mix Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and produce records by Roxy Music, the Pretenders and the Sex Pistols. At the time, Rolling Stone described the album as "post-romantic" and existing "in the Pink Floyd-Procul Harum genre."

Today, as it nears its fortieth anniversary, Paris 1919 still lives and breathes on record in a way that its bombastic musical cousins often fail to do.

More Procol personnel

Good interview about Chris Thomas's recording career

Chris Thomas's early breaks | Chris Thomas in a 1970 Belgian fine-art portrait

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