Click the MP3 icon to listen to the story of Procol Harum and their enduring hit record - Whiter Shade of Pale.
The Procol Harum song Whiter Shade of Pale took two weeks to get to the top of the UK charts in May 1967, and went on to be one of the most commercially successful records ever made.
It was the band's first attempt at making a record, and was inspired by a conversation overheard at a party and a TV ad for cigars. Keith Reed wrote the woozy lyric, and Gary Brooker composed the music. The two lived in different locations - Reed had sent the lyrics to Brooker via the old red letterbox Royal Mail.
The record was made in two takes at London's Olympic Studios - a couple of weeks later, it's on its way to becoming one of the biggest records of all time. Brooker's deep soul vocal dances with the Bach-flavoured organ in an enervating, mesmeric, sublime song that conjures its era while standing resolutely above time, down through the ages. It's one of the few singles to sell more than 10 million copies.
Gary Brooker died in February. He was 76.
Richard is a writer, podcaster, radio and TV broadcaster, an editor, and a lover of music. He tells the stories of how great songs are made, and of the people who make them.