Monday, June 27, 2005

Greener Shade of Pale

According to this, there is a dispute about who wrote "Whiter Shade of Pale." So it's off to the courts:

It was always believed that the number, which hit No. 1 in 1967, was written by Procol Harum frontman Gary Brooker and lyricist Keith Reid. But Matthew Fisher, the band's keyboard player, claims he co-wrote the classic and wants a share of the copyright - plus some of the cash from 10 million sales. One expert believes it could have made $1.2 million in royalties.

Fed up with watching the song repeatedly topping best-ever polls, as the years turned to decades, he decided to act. Fisher, now 59 and a computer programmer in South London, said: "It's taken me this long to find a firm of specialist lawyers good enough to take up my fight. But I have been advised not to say anything more."

But on Procol Harum's official website, Brooker said: "A Whiter Shade Of Pale was written by Keith Reid and me before Matthew even joined the band. "I am shocked and dismayed that after Matthew had worked with us quite happily over the course of 40 years without him once alleging that his role on A Whiter Shade Of Pale was anything other than as a musician, it is only now that he claims he recalls writing part of it."
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Seems like a lot of trouble for $400K minus lawyers' fees (I'm guessing that would be about $399K), but at least he gets to sully a beloved rock classic.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jason, there is no official procol harum site. there is "beyond the pale" run by fans, its huge, but nothing endorsed by the group its self. see www.procolharum.com -- my two cents for what its worth

Jason Hartley said...

I was glad to see that the site doesn't "rely on gimmicks."

Anonymous said...

The unofficial Procul Harum website beyond the pale is neutral but it has recently received several gifts from Gary Brooker of album artwork to auction on ebay for the website's upkeep costs.

Anonymous said...

The web site is self-funding by selling CD's, very tasty work. You can pick it up from www.palersproject.com

Anonymous said...

Since January of this year, two auctions were withdrawn for not getting their reserve bids
(including "Bringing Home the Bacon"), so we won't count those, but the rest I'm quoting are the prices for the donated artwork from Gary Brooker that were sold for on ebay by "bbeyond the pale", with half the proceeds going to them and the other half going to the BJ Wilson fund.

AUCTIONS -
£285 Fires Which Burnt Brightly
£412 For Licorice John
£410 Roberts Box
£220 Champagne Glass
£460 Thin Edge Of the Wedge
£412 Rum Tale

According to my figuring, if BtP gets about half and
subtracting ebay's fee, they come out with about
£1000. Not bad, eh wot?

http://www.procolharum.com/99/grand-hotel-art-rum-t&69w.htm
http://www.procolharum.com/99/grand-hotel-art-champagne_97sgjeh.htm

Anonymous said...

In fact the previous blog is false because I definitely bid for "Bringing Home the Bacon" in November last year and it did reach its reserve and more (went above my budget sadly)

Anonymous said...

The whole "previous blog" is not false, but you've made a correction and have added an interesting piece of information. Have you got the url to the Bringing Home the Bacon winning ebay auction so we can bring it all up to date?

Anonymous said...

This is so very much more than about royalty monies and lucre in general. It's about entitlement, validation, fairness, moral balancing after 38 years. So if the money is marginal but the co-crediting is awarded, the victory will be as sweet. It's about time for Matthew Fisher to get his due.

Anonymous said...

Would you explain to readers why exactly Matthew Fisher should receive credit and monies for Whiter Shade of Pale. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

I'm in total agreement with 10:57 am, this *IS* so very much more than about royalty monies and lucre in general. It's about entitlement, validation, fairness, moral balancing after 38 years.

It's about time for Matthew Fisher to get his due."

Matthew Fisher's organ melody writing contribution to AWSOP turned a song into *THE* song.