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Organist wins ‘Whiter Shade of Pale’ case December 27, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Music.

The original organist with 1960s group Procol Harum has won his court battle over the psychedelic classic, A Whiter Shade of Pale.

Matthew Fisher, who is now a computer programmer, had sought a half-share in the song’s copyright with the group’s singer Gary Brooker, who claimed he was the 1967 hit’s sole writer. The High Court in London awarded him 40 per cent.

Fisher, 60, claimed back royalties valued at around $2.5 million for the song, which sold 10 million copies worldwide and has been voted one of the greatest pop songs of all time.

Credit for the song has always gone to Brooker, 61, who still fronts the band, and lyricist Keith Reid, another member of the original group.

Brooker originally based his tune on Johann Sebastian Bach’s Air on a G String, which he is said to have heard on an advertisement for Hamlet cigars, and Bach’s Sleepers Awake.

But Fisher, a classically-trained musician who left Procol Harum in 1969, had claimed he wrote the organ solo at the start of the song and made changes to Brooker’s chord sequence.

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