50 Essential Albums of 1967

From the Doors' debut to Aretha Franklin's first smash

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Procol Harum, 'Procol Harum'
Procol Harum, 'Procol Harum'39/50

Procol Harum, 'Procol Harum'

The success of Procol Harum's debut single, "A Whiter Shade of Pale" – Top Five in the U.S. in the summer of '67 – has long eclipsed the hard-rock might of the group's first album. That is partly because of its muddy sound ­– the band was recorded live in the studio, in mono. Nevertheless, lyricist Keith Reid's surrealist studies in melancholy and mortality rumble with a heavy-R&B noir powered by Matthew Fisher's ruined church organ, the haunted-Hendrix scream of Robin Trower's guitar and singer-pianist Gary Brooker's white-soul growl. British progressive rock rarely sounded this bold and bruising again.

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