Gary Brooker Founder Of Procol Harum Passed Away At 76

Gary Brooker Founder Of Procol Harum Passed Away At 76 | Society Of Rock Videos

via Sea of Tranquility / Youtube

After battling with cancer, Gary Brooker, co-founder and frontman for Procol Harum has passed away Saturday at age 76.

The surviving members of the band confirmed Brooker’s death in an obituary on the group’s official website writing:

“With the deepest regret we must announce the death on 19 February 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.”

Brooker was born in May 29, 1945, in Hackney, London and grew up in a musical family. The band continued:

“From his earliest onstage duets with his musician father, through his youthful recording career with Southend’s The Paramounts, Gary exhibited and developed a highly-individual talent.”

Brooker led the band for 55 years. They broke up in 1977 but reformed in 1991 and continued to tour and record. Their most recent album, Novum, arrived in 2017. The statement continued:

“His first single with Procol Harum, 1967’s A Whiter Shade of Pale, is widely regarded as defining ‘The Summer of Love’, yet it could scarcely have been more different from the characteristic records of that era.

“Nor was it characteristic of his own writing. Over 13 albums, Procol Harum never sought to replicate it, preferring to forge a restlessly progressive path, committed to looking forward, and making each record a ‘unique entertainment’.

“Gary’s voice and piano were the single defining constant of Procol’s fifty-year international concert career. Without any stage antics or other gimmicks he was invariably the most watchable musician in the show (he played several other instruments in the studio).

“Gary’s charisma was by no means confined to the stage. He lit up any room he entered, and his kindness to a multilingual family of fans was legendary.”

In 2003, Brooker was recognized for his later humanitarian efforts with an MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) from the Queen of England. The band continued:

“He was notable for his individuality, integrity and occasionally stubborn eccentricity. His mordant wit, and appetite for the ridiculous, made him a priceless raconteur (and his surreal inter-song banter made a fascinating contrast with the gravitas of Procol Harum’s performances).”

In July 1968, Brooker married Françoise “Franky” Riedo. The couple never had children, and Brooker’s bandmates praised him for his devotion to his wife.

“But for all his other interests and skills – prize-winning angler, pub-owner, lyricist, painter, inventor – he was above all a devoted and loyal husband to Franky, whom he met in 1965 and married in 1968. Our thoughts must be with her, their families and friends at this extremely sad time.”

Brooker also performed alongside many rock legends during his long career, including playing piano on George Harrison’s album All Things Must Pass and providing backing vocals and keyboards for Eric Clapton’s 1981 album Another Ticket.

Don’t Miss Out! Sign up for the Latest Updates

Premium Partners

Society of Rock partner World War Wings
Society of Rock partner Daily Rock Box
Society of Rock partner Country Music Nation
Society of Rock partner Country Rebel
Society of Rock partner I Love Classic Rock
Society of Rock partner Rock Pasta

Interested in becoming a partner?

Contact us for more info.