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Keith Reid, Co-Writer of Procol Harum’s ‘Whiter Shade of Pale,’ Dies at 76

”His lyrics were one of a kind and helped to shape the music created by the band,“ the English rock band said.

Songwriter Keith Reid, the lyricist for the 1960s rock legends Procol Harum, who co-wrote the band’s top-rated song “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” has died, the band and Reed’s family confirmed on Facebook.

He was 76.

“We are sad to hear of the death of Keith Reid,” the band 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.”

Procol Harum added, “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 the Procol Harum catalogue. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.”

BestClassicBands.com reported Reid’s wife, Pinkey, made the initial announcement about his death in an email sent to his friends. The lyricist died of cancer.

In April 1967, Reid co-founded the group with his friend Gary Brooker, who was Procol Harum’s lead singer, pianist, and composer. Booker died last year also at the of age 76.

“A Whiter Shade of Pale,” was the band’s highest-charting hit. According to Billboard, “it was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Singles category in 2018. The track sold 10 million copies worldwide, spent six weeks atop the U.K. singles chart, and reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100.”

The English rock band had two other top 40 Hot 100 hits, both co-written by Reid: “Homburg” (No. 34 in 1967) and “Conquistador” (No. 16 in 1972).