Procol Harum battle in court

Songwriting on 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale' debated

Procol Harum are continuing their legal battle over songwriting royalties.

Lead singer Gary Brooker is appealing against last year’s ruling that organist Matthew Fisher was entitled to a portion of ’A Whiter Shade Of Pale’’s royalties.

Fisher has originally claimed a half-share of the musical copyright.


But in December 2006, the court ruled he was entitled to a 40 per cent stake in the song.

Brooker is now attempting to reverse the judgement.

John Baldwin QC representing Mr Brooker told the three Appeal Court judges that Fisher had failed to take the case to court earlier because he knew it would be the end of his career in the group.

He said: “There are advantages in being a pop star. Girls wink at you. There are huge lifestyle benefits from being a pop star and this was Mr Fisher’s dream.

“He wanted to stay in the band and live the life of a pop star. Being a litigant was not something he could do alongside that, and he realised what he would have to give up.”

He said that Fisher had not alerted Brooker or their record company when he decided to take action: “with the result that they could not prepate themselves to meet the claim.”


Balwin added that this had meant previous proceedings were unfair. This was due to fact many critical witnesses were dead including impresario David Platz who predicted that the song he heard in March 1967 – before Fisher joined the group – would be “a certain hit”.

Vital evidence – including Brooker’s original tape of the song – has been lost.

The judge had given Fisher a lesser amount because he ruled that while he had made a “substantial contribution” to the song, it was not as great as that of the singer.

The hearing is due to resume next Thursday (October 11), reports BBC News.