Matthew Fisher

Matthew Fisher is a keyboard player, singer, and producer who is best known for his work as a founding member of Procol Harum -- he was the group's organist, and later served as producer/arranger during that band's first three years. Along with Robin Trower and Gary Brooker, he was one of the stars to emerge from the ranks of the group, following the latter's sudden rise to fame in 1967. Born Matthew Charles Fisher in Croydon, Surrey, England in 1946, he studied music in his youth, particularly the keyboard, though he also became proficient on the guitar and the bass, among other instruments, and learned the art of orchestration, as well. In early 1967, he answered an advertisement in Melody Maker and was recruited into a group, initially called the Pinewoods, that was being put together by pianist/singer/songwriter Gary Brooker. Since the breakup of his longtime band the Paramounts a year earlier, Brooker had been writing songs with lyricist Keith Reid, and the Pinewoods, which also included Ray Royer on guitar, David Knights on bass, and Bobby Harrison on drums, were as a vehicle for recording them. One of the songs that this band (soon rechristened Procol Harum) ended up cutting was "A Whiter Shade of Pale" which, with its surreal imagery, classical flourishes -- the source of which would become a matter of contention -- and soulful vocals by Brooker, became a classic piece of pop-psychedelia and an international chart-topper. That created the need for a performing band in a hurry, and in the process of sorting out the strengths and weaknesses of Procol Harum's lineup, Fisher remained alongside Knights, joined by Brooker's ex-Paramounts bandmates Robin Trower and B.J. Wilson, on guitar and drums, respectively.