Gary Brooker had already been in a couple of high school bands when he formed the Paramounts in 1962 with his guitarist chum Robin Tower. The band were to gain a lot of respect among the cognoscenti of the burgeoning British R 'n' B scene which was to give us all The Beatles, The Animals, Spencer Davis Group, The Rolling Stones, and many others. The Stones, in particular, were great distinct Paramounts fans and championed their cause by giving them guest billing on several memorable shows in the early 60's.
Fame and fortune, however, were destined to elude Brooker until the band split to reform, with a few personnel changes, as PROCOL HARUM in the summer of 1967. Their first single, "A Whiter Shade of Pale" was to be a world-wide #1 smash hit and the band were to make 10 widely acclaimed albums in as many years.
Brooker continued, after the band's split, to record several solo albums and he also played piano and sang in Eric Clapton's band for two years during the eighties.
1991 saw PROCOL HARUM re-formed and making the excellent album, The Prodigal Stranger for BMG. Although the record, though chock full of wonderful Brooker/Fisher/Reid compositions, did not set the charts on fire, it did show Brooker singing as well, indeed some say better than ever before, and was to relaunch the group's touring activities around the world.
Gary has recently been at work producing The Symphonic Music of Procol Harum with dynamic new orchestral arrangements of many of Procol Harum's best songs performed by The London Philharmonic Orchestra with guest vocalists. The album was released by RCA Victor in the USA in 1995.
In early 1996, as part of a short European tour with Procol Harum, Gary orchestrated and played a one-off concert in London's prestigious Barbican Theatre with the London Symphony Orchestra. The show was a complete sell out and Gary and the music were met with massive approbation by all who attended.
1997 sees Gary having just finished work on a new album, Within Our House, which continues his innovative style of combining rock and classic music -- this time the line up is the Gary Brooker Ensemble with Choir and String Quartet. Released on Gazza Records, it's another little gem from the man who has been turning them out for some years now!
In the spring of '97 Gary will be touring the USA as a member of Ringo Starr's All Starr Band, a project he is looking forward to very much. "Back to my rocking roots with some good ol' boys. I can dig it," says Gary.
This biography and photograph was provided by Elizabeth Freund of Brooklyn, public relations consultant and publicist for the 1997 tour of Ringo and the All-Starr Band. The text was written by Fezborough Limited of Oxfordshire, England.
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