Procol Harum Founder, Leader Singer Gary Brooker Dead At 76

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Gary Brooker, the co-founder and lead singer of the English rock band Procol Harum, passed away on Saturday, February 19, at the age of 76.

“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,” the band announced on its website.

“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,” the statement added. “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.”

Brooker founded Procol Harum along with his friend Keith Reid. The band gained popularity with its 1967 debut single, “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” which was later inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Singles category in 2018.

The single sold a total of 10 million copies worldwide and spent six weeks atop the U.K. charts and reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The band’s most recent album was 2017’s Novum.

(Photo: Stefan Brending)

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