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Keith Reid

Although he did not sing or play an instrument, lyricist Keith Reid was a pivotal element to the long-term success of art rock mainstays Procol Harum, teaming with vocalist/composer Gary Brooker to write all of the group's material. Born October 19, 1946, in London, he left school at 15 and soon began writing lyrics, inspired primarily by Bob Dylan. Through Island Records chief Chris Blackwell, Reid was introduced to R&B impresario Guy Stevens, who in turn introduced him to fledgling composer Brooker in 1966. The two began collaborating, and upon compiling a number of songs set about assembling a band to record their material; with the Procol Harum lineup in place, they first recorded "A Whiter Shade of Pale," which set Reid's surreal lyrics to a Brooker melody lifted from Johann Sebastian Bach's Suite No. 3 in D Major. The single topped the U.K. charts for six weeks in mid-1967, going on to sell over six million copies worldwide; for his efforts, Reid was credited as an official member of the group and he and Brooker jointly wrote all of Procol Harum's material through the band's 1977 demise. Reid then set up his own management firm, Full House, working on a play and relocating to Manhattan in 1986; three years later, Brooker contacted him to discuss reuniting Procol Harum and the group's comeback album, The Prodigal Stranger, was issued in 1991.
Jason Ankeny, Rovi

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