22 February 2022

Procol Harum frontman Gary Brooker dies aged 76

22 February 2022

Procol Harum frontman Gary Brooker has died aged 76, his band has confirmed.

The psychedelic rock band were best known for their 1967 debut hit A Whiter Shade Of Pale, which topped the singles charts for six weeks.

The singer, pianist and composer had been receiving treatment for cancer before dying peacefully at home on Saturday.

Gary Brooker has died at the age of 76 after receiving treatment for cancer (Ian West/PA) (PA Archive)

A statement posted on the band’s official website said: “With the deepest regret we must announce the death on February 19 2022 of Gary Brooker MBE, singer, pianist and composer of Procol Harum, and a brightly-shining, irreplaceable light in the music industry.

“Aged 76, he had been receiving treatment for cancer, but died peacefully at home.”

The band’s statement added that his charisma extended beyond the stage and that he “lit up any room he entered” and that “his kindness to a multilingual family of fans was legendary”.

Brooker led the band for more than five decades and during that time he helped write and was lead vocals on their 13 albums.

In 1977, A Whiter Shade Of Pale was named joint winner alongside Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody as Best British Pop Single 1952–1977 at the Brit Awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.

Gary Brooker and Geoff Whitehorn of Procol Harum (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Archive)

Brooker also collaborated with many great artists including writing and singing for Eric Clapton’s band and with Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings.

He also rubbed shoulders with the Beatles as he toured with Ringo’s All-Starrs, and contributed to solo projects for Paul McCartney and for George Harrison, who guested on one of Gary’s four solo albums.

According to Procol Harum’s statement, Brooker later ​​added angling, painting, inventing and owning a pub to his other interests.

He was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2003 for his charitable services.

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