The Ghosts Of A Whiter Shade Of Pale
Frequently voted one of the best singles ever by many polls in the UK A Whiter Shade Of Pale almost became an albatross around the neck of the band who performed it to the extent that in the late sixties and early seventies the band refused to perform it live for a couple of years preferring to concentrate on other material.
Procol Harum who with a gap of around fourteen years in the middle have been a ongoing entity for the last forty five years are also a far bigger band than many may give them credit for .
Reading this book by Henry Scott-Irvine you are struck by how important this band are, particularly when you realise that the band are huge in many areas of the world including America .
The research that has gone ointo this book is immense and Henry Scott-Irvine has to be congratulated for the time and obvioulsy love he has lavished on the text in the book. The research is unbelievable. I would consider myself a fan of the band and yet there are certain fact such as the one relating to the band appearing at Woodstock. This is something I never knew before reading the book. Apparently they were due to go on before Crosby Stills Nash and Young and you have to wonder just what would have happened if the band had been captured performing A Whiter Shade of Pale in the Woodstock film. I am convinced as is Robin Trower that the history of the band would have been much different. It is not just a book of facts and figures however as the book is emninetly readable and certainly hard to put down due to the excellent writing style.
As I said A Whiter Shade of Pale must have felt like a bit of a millstone around the collective neck of tyhe band which is sad when you consider just how many really good albums followed the release of the single over the years and the marterial contained on those albums was of the very highest quality and Henry goes into great detail about not just the albums but also what was going on in and around the band at the time.
There is also the recent court case surrounding the court case over the songwriting credits of A Whiter Shade of Pale and again Henry handles the case in a sympathetic and diplomatic way merely recortding the facts rather than taking sides which is really how any book intending to be objective should be
This book however will appeal to many rock fans not only of Procol Harum but those interested in rock generally as the strands of Procol Harum's existence go well beyond Procol Harum and extend into the careers of Eric Clapton and Robin Trower to name just two
From the pre Procol band The Paramounts through the glory years of the band and right up to date where the current line up still led by vocalist and pianist Gary Brooker recently conducted a successful American tour with Yes this book certainly crosses all the T's and crosses all the I's and can be seen as probably the definitive biography of Procol Harum and will drive you back to the music the band made over the last forty five years which is a testament to both the band and the music they created.