‘A Whiter Shade Of Pale’-Organist For Procol Harum Wins In Court!

July 31, 2009 by  
Filed under Music

procolharumThe opening chord sequence to “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” (We skipped a light fandango, turned cartwheels `cross the wall), by Procol Harum, was written by the Hammond organist, Matthew Fisher. Fisher had won a victory in 2006 when the lower court awarded him a 40% royalty on the song. The Court of Appeals had overruled this, saying he had waited too long to take it to court. Now The House of Lords has reinstated his claim to co-authorship, saying there is no deadline. Now money is tied to the decision also.

Matthew Fisher will get his royalties going forward, but this could turn out to be a considerable sum. “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” is a four minute song, and BBC Radio, for example, pays $31.92 royalty for each minute of airplay. According to Phonographic Performance Limited, it`s the most played record on British broadcasting in the last 70 years (Wiki). There has been more than 900 covers of the song and it has been used in countless movies, such as “The Big Chill.”

Well, I`m on my way to Missouri for a short vacation and to see my kinfolk (back on Tuesday)! “And so it was later, as the miller told his tale, that her face at first just ghostly, turned a whiter shade of pale.” By Gary Brooker, Keith Reid, and MATTHEW FISHER