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A Whiter Shade of CASH??


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Summer of love recalled during High Court music battle


Last updated at 14:14pm on 13th November 2006 commentIconSm.gif

It was the massive hit of the summer of love back in 1967 - but today it became the centre of a bitter High Court battle over copyright.

As the haunting strains of A Whiter Shade Of Pale filled the courtroom, Mr Justice Blackburne - who studied both music and law at Cambridge - followed the tune on a transcribed music score.

It will be his task to decide whether Matthew Fisher, original organist with the band Procol Harum, made such a contribution to the success of the song that he is entitled to half the copyright and earnings.

Fisher sat at the front of the court at the opposite end of the bench from Gary Brooker, the vocalist, who is now defending his claim to being the sole writer of the tune.

Before the original recording of the song was played to the judge, Iain Purvis QC, representing Fisher, said: "One always risks a 'who are the Beatles?' moment in cases such as this."

But Mr Justice Blackburne assured him he knew of the work, with: "I am of a certain age, yes."

Fisher is claiming back royalties of around £1 million for the song - which sold 10 million copies worldwide and has been voted one of the greatest pop songs of all time.

It has always been attributed to Brooker, 61, who still fronts Procol Harum, and lyricist Keith Reid, another member of the original group.

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