Henry Scott-Irvine: Procol Harum - The Ghosts Of A Whiter Shade Of Pale

Author: Scott-Irvine, Henry
Price: £19.95
Availability: In Stock
Language: English
Skill Level: Not specified
Publisher: Omnibus Press
ISBN: 9781780382333
Catalogue No.: OP54395
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Procol Harum's extraordinary career now spans almost 50 years. This major biography traces their roots back to 1964 when they were an R&B covers band called The Paramounts whom The Rolling Stones cited as their favourite British group at the time.

With its song writing partnership of Keith Reid and Gary Brooker, the new band would soon become associated with a particularly soulful brand of progressive rock and enjoy a massive international hit with ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ in the summer of 1967. A succession of Billboard Top 100 albums followed but Procol Harum’s future would also be marked by a 14-year retirement, a successful re-formation and one of the costliest and most bitterly fought cases in British legal history.

With specially written material by Martin Scorsese, Sir Alan Parker and author Sebastian Faulks, the book’s stellar list of interviewees includes the band members themselves, producer Chris Thomas, Cream’s Pete Brown and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page. Their insights illuminate what must surely be the gold standard biography of a unique and highly influential band.

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Published On: 29/10/2012
Format: Biography
Pages: 308

Customer Reviews

Rating Review
Great book about this iconic yet under-appreciated band. Very well researched and written (by a long time fan who has previously produced a video about the band). Lots of rare photographs and plenty of fascinating trivia too. The band had members with exceptional musical skills (ace drummer B J Wilson and guitarist Rob Trower) but the kingpin has been Gary Brooker, pianist, singer and friend to many musicians. The early Paramounts days, the different Procol eras and the recent legal dispute with Matthew Fisher are all recorded in great detail here. A bonus are the celebrity forewords from film directors Alan Parker and Martin Scorcese and the afterword from Sebastian Foulkes. Thoroughly recommended with the fond hope that it will encourage a renewed interest in the band in its homeland ahead of the 50th anniversary of Whiter Shade of Pale in 2017.
Omnibus Press Website User
Henry Scott-Irvine has written a superb account of the origin, success and excess with all sundry trials, triumphs and tribulations associated with the rapid rise in the charts of a rock band with a truly unique sound. If The Ghosts of A Whiter Shade of Pale: Procol Harum would have been turned into a mystery novel it might have been titled “The Case of the Missing Acetate”. For there are mysterious threads that run throughout this book and the careers of those associated with the band. The more a fan, like myself, discovers about Procol Harum, falsehood or truth, the more questions arise about those salad days. The author has deftly surveyed the landscape surrounding Procol Harum and presented us with a rich array of band history, anecdotes from band members and insight into the devilish machinations of the music industry. With his vast experience of research into documenting the recordings of the swinging 1960s and the psychedelic 1970s, Scott-Irvine was dutifully poised to use his many contacts in the music business to enhance his portrait of the band that defies description and labeling.
Omnibus Press Website User
This excellent book covers Gary Brooker's early R'n'B group, The Paramounts, all line ups of Procol Harum, Gary's solo ventures and his side excursions with other well-known musicians such as Eric Clapton and Bill Wyman. Procol Harum's ground-breaking concerts and recordings with Classical Orchestras and Choirs are also described in meticulous detail in this well researched offering. Henry Scott-Irvine must be congratulated on delivering the best musical biography which I have ever read. He doesn't shy away from covering the bitter court case concerning the composing rights to A Whiter Shade of Pale. However for anyone that thinks that A Whiter Shade of Pale was the be all and end all of Procol Harum, think again. There are too many musical gems to name them all. They include A Salty Dog, As Strong as Samson, Pandora's Box and The Blink of an Eye. With interesting insights from Martin Scorsese, Sir Alan Parker, Jimmy Page and Sebastian Faulks this is a must for your bookshelf. Rush out and buy this book right now. You will not regret it.
Omnibus Press Website User
Finally, after months of breathless anticipation, I received this last Friday here in the US, and am impressed well beyond my admittedly lofty expectations by the care and incredible effort that went into telling this amazing (yet somewhat overlooked, perhaps due to aWSoP's massive initial success) band's story (at last!) Thank you very much, Mr. Scott-Irvine and Omnibus.
Omnibus Press Website User
'Ghosts of A Whiter Shade of Pale' is a wonderfully informative and beautifully written book by Henry Scott-Irvine about Procol Harum. It is musically thorough and a real treat to read - and I mean treat in the most substantial way! Best of luck with it - it deserves to be read and will certainly be enjoyed by anyone who does! Well done!!
Omnibus Press Website User
Astonishly interesting book about the birth, growth and success of a band that is far more than their worldwide million-seller Whiter Shade of Pale for which they are best remembered. Their experiments with orchestras around the world paved the way for others, in much the same way their early sixties adoption of US rhythm'n'blues in their previous incarnation as The Paramounts opened the door for a generation of British bluesmen. Author Henry Scott-Irvine is to be congratulated for his detailed research into the subject, his easy writing style, and the obvious warmth he feels towards what is obviously his favourite group. Congratulations, too, on the plugs he is getting this week in the national press! JH Omnibus Press Website User
Omnibus Press Website User
"I thoroughly enjoyed gorging myself on Procol Harum love and lore while reading this book. It is a serious and in-depth appraisal of all the various ghosts that haunt Harum Land. At one point I found myself laughing out loud. Twice I was brought to tears. Many times I was illuminated. If there is one thing to stress amidst the controversy it is this: Procol Harum, most notably Gary Brooker, never sold out his perfectionism or professionalism. The music stands paramount to any hurdles the industry has to offer. Well done, Henry!" - 5 star review by Satch on Good Reads.com, Nov 2012
Omnibus Press Website User

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