Gary Brooker

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Gary Brooker

Gary Brooker passed from this earth Saturday, Feb 19, 2022. He was the voice, piano, and composer in the English band Procol Harum (named after a friend’s cat’s birth certificate). Mr. Brooker lit up many a musical imagination with over fifty years leading that band. He was a huge influence on my music path.

The Paramounts

Gary spent 1960-66 playing R&B and soul in the English band The Paramounts. Brooker decided to become a songwriter exclusively. He was introduced to lyricist Keith Reid. They began writing songs to present to others. Since no one seemed interested in recording/performing them, he formed Procol Harum originally for that purpose in 1967.

Classical-Influenced Rock

Procol Harum was a band that featured classical-influenced rock music. The lineup featured both piano and organ, not one or the other. This unique pairing allowed for many more textures, lending to classical music extension. They had a very dynamic range, from whisper to most intense. Their first release was the huge hit “Whiter Shade of Palein 1967, and they toured on and off until 2019.

During those 52 years, Gary Brooker and Procol Harum (despite the many personnel changes) recorded thirteen studio and eight live albums. Procol Harum Live: In Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra particularly stands out for its 1972 hit recording of “Conquistador“. By the way, Gary wrote the orchestral arrangement for it, as well.

April 15, 1973

On April 15, 1973 in Charleston, Illinois, I witnessed Procol Harum in concert. The band was touring for their new (at the time) Grand Hotel album, and they were in a class by themselves. I saw the complete command of artists at work (side note: Their drummer- the late B.J. Wilson- played drums sounding like a whole orchestral percussion section playing along with his drum kit-amazing!). Blazing the way forward, Gary Brooker was the one constant the entire time. Below is a live clip from that same time period:

Procul Harum live in studio, 1973.

Like No One Else

Procol Harum sounded like no one else before or since Gary Brooker. Although his music was sophisticated, there was a working man mentality that kept it nailed to the ground. He didn’t underestimate anyone’s intelligence; kept the listener challenged.

Gary Brooker showed me that anything could be achieved musically, something I’ve always carried along my convoluted way.

© 2022 J. Mark Witters Skyypilot Media

Do You Consent?

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Do you consent to letting the State dictate every aspect of your life (if they decide to let you be born in the first place)? Do you think masks really work? The vaccines? How about standing in line waiting for precious freedoms to be returned at their own time and choosing; not allowing facts to get in their way? Do you consent to guard the borders of another country when ours is non-existent? Do you consent to giving your hard-earned money to illegal aliens through goods and services, then letting them vote? What about the child trafficking that’s running rampant and is even being facilitated? Do you accept the fact that no one will officially challenge the 2020 election? Do you believe Dominion machines’ counts are real? Do you think current voter roles are accurate? Should we condone obvious inexpensive, proven cures be withheld in favor of big pharma/big money dangerous deceptions? Should we allow criminals to be let out of prison to riot and destroy lives? Should we let dictators mandate our world? Do we accept “global warming” at the cost of everything we hold dear, just hoping the purchased “science” is the truth? Is it accepted without question that every three-letter agency (such as FBI, CDC,FDA, CIA, IRS, etc.) always relate proven fact? Do you want your children to be raised by the government teacher unions without any of parental discretion or recourse? Do you want their curriculum to include political, racial, sexual, or religious bias and just skip real critical thinking? Do you accept the death and destruction caused by fentanyl smuggled up through the southern border? Do you approve of demonizing Christianity while drag queens tell stories to children in public libraries? Do you want to de fund police for we “commoners” , while the ruling class has private security we pay for? Do you consent to the endless lies we are fed by big government and media, while they accuse everyone else of “misinformation”. Do you condone the destruction of selected history in favor of what’s “woke”? Will you go along with the cancel culture craze? Do you support mob rule? How about abortion? Lying media and politicians? Do you want to give up personal protection (guns) and hope that we’ll be protected by the people who take them? Do you condone false flags to hide the truth? Do you think people should let the ruling class think for them? Should people not be convicted of treason and crimes against humanity? Do you think Jan. 6 a real insurrection? Should those accused in Jan 6 still be in jail while real criminals and terrorists (BLM/Antifa, etc.) are running rampant? Are you sick of the catch phrase “you’re racist” when you don’t go along with their communist agenda? What about social justice, are you in? Reparations? Do you believe Covid-19 was real? Was it ever isolated? Do you support dumping 75,000 (probably more) illegal, unvetted Afghans all over the country (many considered dangerous)? Support the UN taking our money while they spy on us and undermine our sovereignty, plus have diplomatic immunity at the same time? Does your government serve you?
Thought not.

“Stratified” from Skyypilot’s “Behind The Mask” album

© 2022 J. Mark Witters Skyypilot Media

After All…


After All

After all has been said and done, what is left? One spends a lifetime accumulating “things”, position, wealth (monetary/spiritual/knowledge/skills), praise, rewards. To what avail? When you leave this planet, it will be the same way you came in- with nothing materially. You really can’t take it with you. Accolades really mean nothing. You can be the fastest, smartest, trendiest, sharpest, most striking- doesn’t ultimately matter, does it?


How time can change one’s perspective! My obsession with music led me to try starting bands when I was young- never worked out. Committed to the unique, I found ways to ultimately do it myself. Personal freedom to both succeed and fail is the real prize. My goal is to produce music that is interesting to me. If others like it, great! If not,as long as I like it, that’s what counts.


Time will ultimately take it’s toll. The physical body breaks down. Mortality stares you in the face. What will be left? Your works; your legacy of love or hate. It’s hard to make proper choices, but we must try. As long as you can face yourself, that’s all that matters.

Limitless © 2021 J. Mark Witters Skyypilot Media

© 2021 J. Mark Witters Skyypilot Media