No one could write and sing like Gary Brooker, who passed away on February 19th at the age of 76. From “We skipped the light fandango” – the opening line of “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” that made him, as a leader of PROCOL HARUM a soulful voice of psychedelic generation back in 1967 – to “I’m gone” that prophetically closed “The Only One” on the ensemble’s “Novum” album fifty years later, there was nobody to rival Gary’s ability to make both the most otherworldly and the simplest words ring true and enigmatic at the same time.
It doesn’t make sense to list all his musical achievements here, with the band and solo – the records Gary released as an individual performer saw many a star willing to play on, including George Harrison whose “All Things Must Pass” and a couple other platters feature Brooker’s piano – and it doesn’t make sense to mention his cameo in the “Evita” movie, but his contributions to various charities are worth bringing up. Of course, the veteran was widely recognized, and decorated with OBE, yet it’s his songs – such as “Grand Hotel” and “Something Magic” or “Beyond The Pale” – that are this artist’s true legacy.
Rest in Peace, The Commander.