Rock & Roll Heaven Calls Up Another–Remember Procol Harum?
Anyone who knows me also knows that music is indeed my life. And I'm not just saying that because my(admittedly, chosen) profession revolves around music, but because of the fact that I could not go a day without it.
From my earliest recollections of childhood, I remember being fascinated by music, being drawn to it. In all seriousness, my Mom didn't need a babysitter to watch me(although she always managed to find one) if she had to go run some errands, she could've just plopped me down in front of the radio and I would have been fine.
One of the first songs that I can actually remember hearing on the radio that stuck with me many, many years later was "Whiter Shade of Pale" from the band Procol Harum. I don't know what it is exactly about that song, but it tends to evoke several different responses from different listeners.
Some people hear the song and go, "Meh. Whatever." Others hear it and respond with, "Yeah, it's ok. Decent song." But, there are many people(my kind of people) who hear that song and are amazed upon first listening.
The evocative imagery described in the lyrics, the swirling keyboards that dominate the music structure right off the bat, and lead singer Gary Brooker laying it all out there for everyone to hear. What a voice!!!
What exactly is all this leading up to? I know, I know, I sometimes stray off the path numerous times before I arrive at the point. We lost Procol Harum lead vocalist Gary Brooker over the weekend. Gary finally lost his battle with cancer. He was 76-years-old.
Brooker was blessed with a good singing voice, but what I feel made his voice truly awesome was the emotion he put into it. And that is but one of the many reasons why Procol Harum had so many great songs. Trust me, if you're a fan of "Whiter Shade of Pale", but that's the only song by which you're familiar, dig deeper.
"Simple Sister", "Homburg", "A Salty Dog", "Nothing But The Truth", "In The Wee Small Hours Of Sixpence", "Long Gone Geek", "Whaling Stories", "Conquistador", "Whiskey Train"(one of my all-time favorite rockers), "Shine On Brightly", the list goes on...
Here's a clip of the band on Italian TV with their biggest hit:
Thanks for the wonderful music and lyrics for the songs you co-wrote Gary, but most of all thanks for that wonderfully emotive voice. I think I'll go listen to some more Procol Harum and maybe hoist a few to mark the occasion.