Procol Harum Songwriter Keith Reid Dead At 76

Julianna Frieman Contributor
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Songwriter Keith Reid of Procol Harum has passed away at age 76.

The lyricist behind the band’s 1967 hit song “A Whiter Shade of Pale” died March 23 following a battle with cancer, according to Reid’s wife, Pinkey, announced his death Wednesday in an email sent to the songwriter’s friends.

Procol Harum published a statement memorializing Reid on their official Facebook page, according to Billboard.

“We are sad to hear of the death of Keith Reid,” the statement said. “An unparalleled lyricist Keith wrote the words to virtually all Procol Harum songs, as well as co-writing the John Farnham hit ‘You’re the Voice.’ His lyrics were one of a kind and helped to shape the music created by the band. His imaginative, surreal and multi-layered words were a joy to Procol fans and their complexity by design was a powerful addition [to] the Procol Harum catalogue. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.”

“A Whiter Shade of Pale” was one of the English rock band’s earliest compositions, reaching number one in their native United Kingdom as well as several European countries. The song reached #5 on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart in the United States. (RELATED: ‘I Am Shattered’: Andrew Lloyd Webber Announces Death Of His Son)

Keith wrote other classic rock songs, including “A Salty Dog,” “Shine on Brightly,” and “Grand Hotel.”

Because Keith was not a performer in Procol Harum, he was not considered an official band member. However, his poetic lyrics were integral to the band’s music, prompting fans to decipher their meaning.

Keith was born Oct. 19, 1946 in Hertfordshire, England. He grew up in London, where he began close collaboration with frontman Gary Brooker after his previous band The Paramounts became Procol Harum.

Brooker also died of cancer Feb. 19, 2022 at the age of 76, according to Rolling Stone.