Organist wins Procul Harum claim

Former Procul Harum organist Matthew Fisher has won his High Court battle for the rights of A White Shade of Pale, giving 11 South Square’s Iain Purvis QC a winning start to his career as a silk.

Mr Justice Blackburne upheld Fisher’s claim against band member Gary Brooker, ruling that he came up with the song’s Hammond organ solo.

The judge gave Fisher a declaration that he was co-author of the song, and granted him a 40 per cent share of the music copyright.

Fisher will be able to claim royalties from May 2005, the date of the claim, after waiting almost 40 years to take the matter to the court.

Michael Shepherd, associate at media boutique Jens Hill & Co, acted for Fisher, instructing barristers Iain Purvis QC and Hugo Cuddigan at 11 South Square.

Shepherd said: “If you’ve contributed to the song, then you should be recognized as an author. At the end of the day [Fisher] helped write the song.”

Media specialists Harbottle & Lewis acted for Brooker and publisher Onward Music, instructing Andrew Sutcliffe QC at 3 Verulam Buildings. Harbottles has appealed the decision.