Eric Clapton, Roger Taylor, Mike Rutherford to play tribute concert for Procol Harum's Gary Brooker

28 September 2023, 12:13 | Updated: 5 October 2023, 13:23

Eric Clapton (far left) and Queen drummer Roger Taylor (far right) are among the guests performing at a tribute concert for Procol Harum's Gary Brooker (middle).
Eric Clapton (far left) and Queen drummer Roger Taylor (far right) are among the guests performing at a tribute concert for Procol Harum's Gary Brooker (middle). Picture: Getty

By Thomas Curtis-Horsfall

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Procol Harum brought psychedelic soul to the masses.

Formed in 1967, they released their signature song - the timeless 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale' - and became forebears of the psychedelic movement of the sixties.

Because of its unusual mix of pop, soul, and baroque sounds, the single became emblematic of the 'Summer Of Love' in 1967.

After reaching number one on the UK charts and the top ten in the US, 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale' went on to become an enduring classic of the era, selling over 10 million copies worldwide which makes it one of the best-selling singles of all time.

Since their initial formation, Procol Harum continued as a band for the next six decades, with lead singer and primary songwriter Gary Brooker being the only consistent member.

Sadly on 19th February 2022, Brooker died at the age of 76 after losing his battle to cancer.

The band's website stated: "With the deepest regret we must announce the death on 19 February 2022 of Gary Brooker MBE," and described him as "a brightly shining, irreplaceable light in the music industry".

Now over eighteen months on, his former bandmates have banded together for a tribute concert in honour of the late psychedelic icon.

And leading the lineup are the likes of legendary guitar virtuoso Eric Clapton, Genesis' Mike Rutherford, and Queen drummer Roger Taylor.

PROCOL HARUM - A Whiter Shade Of Pale - promo film #2 (Official Video)

Brooker's former Procol Harum bandmates Geoff Dunn, Geoff Whitehor, and Josh Phillips have also been confirmed to appear.

The tribute concert in Brooker's honour will take place at G Live in Guildford on December 4, 2023.

There's a lengthy list of other names who will perform alongside Clapton, Taylor, and Rutherford on the night.

Making up the rest of the guests and the house band are Paul Carrack, Andy Fairweather Low, John Illsey and Mike Sanchez. Meanwhile, the house band consists of Dave Bronze, Henry Spinetti, Graham Broad, Paul Beavis, Frank Mead, Nick Pentelow, Nikki Lamborn, Catherine Feeney and Olivia Keast.

As a charity event, the money raised from the event will go to The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and Cure Parkinsons. 

Tickets are priced at £100 plus booking fees. See the poster for the upcoming charity concert below.

'A Whiter Shade Of Pale' was in fact Procol Harum's debut single, and made them an immediate sensation after its 1967 release.

Though legal issues and multiple lineup changes harmed their reputation in the UK, they were lauded in the US where they were considered an outstanding touring act throughout the decades.

The band's legacy is indelibly entwined with their greatest song, which was voted joint winner of the 'The Best British Pop Single 1952–1977' at the BRIT Awards alongside Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody'.

Winning numerous awards and accolades over the years 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale' was also reported as the most-played song in the last 75 years in public places in the UK.

"He lit up any room he entered, and his kindness to a multilingual family of fans was legendary," Procol Harum's statement read after announcing Gary Brooker's death.

"He was notable for his individuality, integrity, and occasionally stubborn eccentricity. His mordant wit, and appetite for the ridiculous, made him a priceless raconteur (and his surreal inter-song banter made a fascinating contrast with the gravitas of Procol Harum’s performances)."

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