Songwriter Keith Reid — the lyricist for Procol Harum, who co-wrote the band’s highest-charting hit, “A Whiter Shade of Pale” — has died at age 76, his family and the band announced Wednesday (March 29).
“We are sad to hear of the death of Keith Reid,” a statement on Procol Harum’s Facebook page read. “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.’ 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 [to] the Procol Harum catalogue. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.”
The news was initially revealed in an email from Reid’s wife, Pinkey, to friends of the lyricist, according to BestClassicBands.com. The cause of death was cancer.
Reid co-founded the band with his friend Gary Booker, Procol Harum’s lead singer, pianist and composer who died last year, also at age 76.
The band is likely best known for their 1967 debut single “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” which 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. Procol Harum had two other top 40 Hot 100 hits, both co-written by Reid: “Homburg” (No. 34 in 1967) and “Conquistador” (No. 16 in 1972).