Procol Harum's proggy classics stand the test of time | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Procol Harum's proggy classics stand the test of time 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

click to enlarge Procol Harum

Procol Harum

Alex Asprey

Formed in England in 1967, Procol Harum are probably best known for their massive debut single, “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” a chilling, Bach-inspired, organ-led beauty of a tune deemed by some the first progressive-rock song ever. But prog or not, it introduced the world to the baroque-rock grandeur Procol Harum came to specialize in, with its sweeping arrangements and epi, story-driven lyrics, double-keyboard interplay between singer and pianist Gary Brooker and organist Matthew Fisher, and complex, bluesy shredding by guitarist Robin Trower. Though the band’s lineup shifted a bit throughout the 70s, they released an excellent run of soulful, progressive symphonic rock before splitting up in 1977. But like many other bands of their generation, Procol Harum joined the reunion circuit in the early 90s. Though Brooker, Fisher, and Trower initially combined forces once again, it was only a matter of time before people started dropping out, which eventually left Brooker as the sole original member. In 2017, Brooker and a lineup of hired guns released Novum, the first Procol record since 2003. Obviously it’s not very good: the songs aren’t interesting and the whole thing has a bizarre adult-contemporary production sheen to it. But no one’s going to see Procol Harum in 2019 to hear new songs; fans want to hear the classics, and Brooker’s still got the pipes to bring them.   v

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Give $35/month →  
  Give $10/month →  
  Give  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
April 30
Performing Arts
October 02

Popular Stories