Procol Harum lyricist Keith Reid dies at 76

Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns

Keith ReidProcol Harum lyricist and co-writer of the British band’s classic 1967 hit “Whiter Shade of Pale,” died on March 23 after a battle with cancer, according to the band’s website. He was 76.

“Whiter Shade of Pale,” whose hook was borrowed from Bach’s Suite No. 3 in D Major, was credited to Reid, Procol Harum’s lead singer and pianist Gary Brooker, and later, organist Matthew Fisher following a lengthy lawsuit. It reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and sold more than six million copies globally. The song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and recognized as “Best British Pop Single 1952–1977″ — along with Queen‘s “Bohemian Rhapsody” — at the BRIT Awards as part of Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee. It was also played a major role in writer-director Lawrence Kasden’s 1983 film, The Big Chill.

Reid’s association with the band began with their self-titled 1967 debut album and lasted through their 2003 release, The Well’s on Fire.

In August 2008, he released the album The Common Thread under The Keith Reid Project. Reid wrote the lyrics for the songs, which were performed by a variety of musicians, including Southside Johnny and John Waite. The Keith Reid Project also released the album In My Head in 2018.

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