Keith Reid, ‘Unparalleled’ Lyricist for Procol Harum, Dead at 76

Keith Reid, whose words were heard alongside the music of Procol Harum, is dead. He was 76.

The English rock band confirmed the “unparalleled” lyricist’s death in a Facebook post Wednesday, remembering him as someone who “wrote the words to virtually all Procol Harum songs” and whose “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,” the statement added.

According to a statement provided by the band to Los Angeles-based media company Sunset Blvd. Records, Reid had been receiving cancer treatment “for the past couple of years” and “died suddenly” in a hospital in London last Thursday.

Although not a performing member of the music group, Reid formed the rock band alongside frontman Gary Brooker, who also died of cancer at age 76 on Feb. 19, 2022.

After adding bass player Alan Cartwright, guitarist Mick Grabham, drummer B.J. Wilson, and organ player Chris Copping, the band would go on to release 13 albums before splitting up in 1977.

While they reformed as a new version in 1991 and recorded and toured up until 2019, according to Rolling Stone, the band’s most recognized single came in 1967 with the track “A Whiter Shade of Pale.”

Co-written by Reid and Brooker, the track was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998 and was named the most-played song in public places in the U.K. for the past 75 years by the BBC in 2009.

The lyricist, added Stereogum, is also remembered for forming a management company in the ’80s. His first solo album, In My Head, was released in 2018.