Gary Brooker, who co-founded and led the English rock band Procol Harum, has died. The group announced the news on its website Tuesday (February 22), writing that Brooker had died peacefully at home amid cancer treatment. “He lit up any room he entered, and his kindness to a multilingual family of fans was legendary,” his bandmates wrote. Gary Brooker was 76.
Procol Harum were best known for their debut 1967 single “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” which became an anthem for the exploding counterculture movement. Brooker had established the group with Keith Reid, Ray Royer, David Knights, and Matthew Fisher, having been a busy presence in Britain’s early 1960s rock scene.
After the early success of “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” the band remained an influential force on other up-and-coming British rock groups, including the Who and Queen. The band ultimately issued more than a dozen albums. Outside of Procol Harum, Brooker remained a regular collaborator, appearing on George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, Somewhere in England, and Gone Troppo, later touring with Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band in the 1990s. He performed as a member of Eric Clapton’s band for a spell, too, including on 1981’s Another Ticket, but left the group that year. He also made appearances on Kate Bush’s The Red Shoes (1993) and Aerial (2005). Brooker issued three solo albums—No More Fear of Flying, Lead Me to the Water, and Echoes in the Night—between 1979 and 1986.
Procol Harum officially dissolved in 1977 after their LP Something Magic, but the band periodically reunited for tours and other appearances over the subsequent decades. The group issued another album, The Prodigal Son, in 1991, followed by The Well’s on Fire in 2003. Procol Harum’s most recent release was 2017’s Novum, where Brooker was the only remaining member of the original lineup still in the band.
Source : Pitchfork