Procol Harum was one of the first bands that did what could be considered progressive rock. Their first single, “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” (from their 1967 eponymous first album), was a combination of Bach-like organ and complex lyrics. As with most progressive rock bands, their albums sold better than their singles, and they received much more airplay on FM rock stations than they did on Top 40 AM stations. Their 1972 live album, Procol Harum Live In Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orhestra, reached #5 in the US, and featured music from their first five studio albums, and is a masterpiece of symphonic rock.
The single from that live album, “Conquistador” (originally on their first album), reached #16 in the US and #7 in Canada. It was written, as are most of Procol Harum’s songs, by pianist and lead singer Gary Brooker and lyricist Keith Reid. Here is that live version.
The band’s follow-up studio album, Grand Hotel, reached #21 in the US and produced several singles, including “A Souvenir Of London,” recounting one of the members’ bout with venereal disease. It features some music hall playing from the band and some bluesy singing from Brooker.
After numerous personnel changes, Procol Harum disbanded in 1977, then reformed in 1991, and since 2001 has been actively touring, mostly in Europe and Japan. The band has a fan-operated website, Beyond the Pale, which has details about past concert tours. Updates to the site can be found on Twitter, and more news and announcements are available on Facebook.
Procol Harum, your Two for Tuesday, February 16, 2016.