Procol Harum (/ˈproʊkəl ˈhɑːrəm/) is an English rock band formed in 1967. Their best-known recording is the 1967 hit single “A Whiter Shade of Pale”, one of the few singles to have sold over 10 million copies. Although noted for their baroque and classical influence, Procol Harum’s music is described as psychedelic rock and proto-prog. In 2018, the band was honored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when “A Whiter Shade of Pale” was inducted into the brand-new Singles category. The band’s 13th album, Novum, was released on 21 April 2017 and the band played 36 dates in the UK and Europe to promote it. However, the most significant concert of the year came in March when the band played with an orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall in London. Whilst leaving the stage at the end of the first half, Gary Brooker fell and was seriously hurt. He reappeared for the second half with his head bandaged and nursing “a broken hand”. In 2018 the band again toured in Europe, including an orchestral show at the London Palladium on 9 October. They commenced 2019 with a Caribbean cruise hosted by Justin Hayward, with many well-known rock acts. A US tour was due to follow. Here are all of Procol Harum albums ranked.
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10. Home (1970)
“Released in 1970 “Home” follows the band’s three previous albums with much the same sound–except that Trower’s guitar takes center stage on a number of tracks. The band’s sound has taken on a more powerful overall sound that gives the songs some needed firepower. Chances are if you’re reading this you’re already a fan and know the music on this album, so dissecting each track is pretty pointless.”
9. A Whiter Shade Of Pale (1975)
“PROCOL HARUM-THE BEST OF PROCOL HARUM: Bloody British prog rockers PROCOL HARUM are mainly remembered for two things today…as the starting point for future guitar god ROBIN TROWER (who exited after a handful of albums) and monster smash WHITER SHADE OF PALE, their hypnotically gorgeous debut single/signature song. The band’s brooding wall of sound catalogue, largely penned by lyricist KEITH REID (a non band member) and pianist GARY BROOKER spotlighted trippy anthems…the historical saga CONQUISTADOR, reflective HOMBURG and hard rock grenade WHISKEY TRAIN…all FM radio fodder at the turn of the psychedelic sixties.”
8. Something Magic (1977)
“omething Magic is a record that sparked strong feelings in many fans at the time of its release and is widely considered to be Procol’s nadir, that proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back as far as fan loyalty was concerned. But if you revisit it on this Salvo reissue, you may well find that its not nearly as bad as you remember. There are some great songs here that hold their own when compared to some of what is generally considered to be the band’s best.
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7. Exotic Birds And Fruit (1974)
“Exotic Birds and Fruit was Procol’s best album in their “later period” of albums 7-10. One must go back to the 5th album, the often wished for “Broken Barricades”, to find a work of equal quality. Some of the tunes on EB&F are simply as good as anything the band ever created–e.g. Strong As Sampson, Thin End of the Wedge, Nothing But The Truth, New Lamps for Old. NOT Butterfly Boys tho’!”
6. Novum (2017)
“Novum picks up right where the band left off, and hearkens back to their previous body of work, including the classic early albums. I do miss Keith Reid’s lyrics, but the lyrics on this new effort have much to commend them as well. The Procol Harum’s distinctive sound is so great to hear in a new and contemporary rendition. Novum fits right in with what has come before.”
5. Broken Barricades (1971)
“For years, Broken Barricades was one of Procol Harum’s albums that was completely out of print and if you could find it on CD, it was expensive and the sound quality questionable. Then along came Gary Brooker who re-released it himself on his own label followed shortly thereafter by what appeared to be the definitive reissue on Germany’s Repertoire label. That was so well done its hard to imagine how it could be improved upon. Well, in some ways (except in package design) that’s now been done as part of Salvo Records’ ambitious project to remaster and reissue all official Procol Harum albums.”
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4. Grand Hotel (1973)
“Grand Hotel is probably the most grandiose album friendly album that Procol has put out. Unlike some of their other albums you really don’t have to be a progressive rock fan to enjoy this. Unlike Emerson Lake and Palmer they are not as pretentious with their sound and although the Moody Blues have been able to enjoy a strong following here in the states if this album had been remembered Procol could have toured on this one alone the way Pink Floyd did with The Wall.”
3. Shine On Brightly (1968)
“The first four Procol Harum albums have, like the Move’s, been remastered and released by the Salvo label. “Shine on Brighly” was Procol Harum’s second album, and it is often regarded as perhaps their finest. With the new remastering the music has never sounded better, and another interesting feature is that it is now possible to play the songs from the long suite “In Held Twas In I” separately – an option I have often wished for.”
2. Procol Harum (1967)
“A supreme album from ’67, Procol Harum’s debut easily sits with Cream’s ‘Disraeli Gears’ and Hendrix’s ‘Axis Bold as Love’ or the Beatles’ albums of the day in terms of originality and quality. The only problem with the album is that it got overlooked by about 95% of those people who turned the band’s debut single, ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’, into the all-time best seller it became. Yes, the single overshadowed this great album, though it was a favourite with Hendrix and music buffs like me, who at the time was savouring the Small Face, the Move, the Yardbirds, Kinks, Amen Corner, Cream… It was – and remains – one of the most unique and enduring albums of that era.”
1. A Salty Dog (1969)
“Putting A Salty Dog into perspective requires one to look back at the climate of rock music circa 1969. For this truly was the golden age of rock. The Beatles “White Album” was a virtual smorgasbord of styles and influences. The Who’s groundbreaking rock opera “Tommy” established new boundaries and The Byrds were blazing a trail called country rock with their superb “Sweetheart of the Rodeo”. “