Procol Harum - Long considered the Prototype for Progrock.
Procol Harum – Long considered the Prototype for Progrock.

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – Procol Harum In Session at The BBC – 1967-1968 – BBC Radio 1

Perennial favorites Procol Harum tonight, in session from 1967 (with one track; Long, Gone Geek from 1968) at The BBC for the Easy Beat and Top Gear radio programs.

Long acknowledged as the precursor to the Prog-Rock movement, Procol Harum were considered Art-Rock, Baroque-Rock and Symphonic-Rock when they first appeared on the scene. Sounding not all that dissimilar from an American group around this time; The Left Banke, mostly from a certain Classically-tinged Baroque style, Procol Harum represented something different; a departure from the themes prevalent in Pop Music at that time. Psychedelia changed the field as far as what songs were about – themes of love and angst were being supplanted by themes of introspection and surreal occurrences, and the chief lyricist for the band Keith Reid, conjured up some very surreal images.

Coupled with liberal borrowings from Bach, Procol Harum blazed a new trail during a period of time when music was undergoing a radical change on many fronts. Over the years the band underwent personnel and direction changes, and being forever remembered as the band who gave us the 60s anthem Whiter Shade Of Pale did paint them in a corner for a while. But by the late 60s and early 70s their sound had become more symphonic and less experimental and it would cause friction and eventual departure for several key members of the band; notably Robin Trower who would leave to begin a successful solo career.

But tonight it’s the formative years – the beginning of Procol Harum and their meteoric rise in popularity. Of course, it starts off with Whiter Shade of Pale – it’s practically a requirement if you’re not already familiar with the band. Just prior to playing Homburg, there is a short interview between Brian Mathew and Gary Brooker. All elements to an interesting and thoroughly enjoyable puzzle.

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