'You're The Voice' Co-writer, Procol Harum's Keith Reid Passes Away

30 March 2023 | 8:49 am | Mary Varvaris

“It is with the deepest sadness that we must announce the passing of the lyricist Keith Reid, who died suddenly on 23 March 2023."

(Source: Facebook)

Keith Reid, the English lyricist for the progressive rock band Procol Harum and co-writer for John Farnham’s anthem, You’re The Voice, has passed away aged 76.

Best known for writing the Procol Harum song A Whiter Shade Of Pale, which reached #1 in Australia in 1967, his presence in music can’t be understated - especially as one of the co-writers of that John Farnham classic, Australia’s national anthem.

Best Classic Bands revealed that Reid passed away from cancer. 

As well as his work with Procol Harum, the band for which he wrote every song throughout eleven albums until 2017’s Novum, Reid formed a personal management, publishing, and production company and record label.

Many artists wrote with Reid and experienced great success with his songs. Annie Lennox, Willie Nelson, Sarah Brightman, Jeff Healey, Heart, Robin Trower, Mavis Staples, Felix Cavaliere, John Waite, Chris Thompson, John Farnham, Alan Parsons Project, Gary Brooker and Procol Harum all released songs written by Reid.

Keith Reid also released two solo albums during his musical career, The Common Thread (2008) and In My Head (2018).

Procol Harum left the following message for their dearly departed songwriter on their website:

“It is with the deepest sadness that we must announce the passing of the lyricist Keith Reid, who died suddenly on 23 March 2023, in hospital in London. He had been receiving cancer treatment for the past couple of years. 

“Keith was the co-founder and lyricist for the band Procol Harum, notably penning their biggest hit A Whiter Shade of Pale, which contains some of the most enigmatic lyrics of all time. He always said that, at the end of his life, he would explain what it all meant: but sadly he didn’t get this opportunity.

“Keith was also involved in numerous other projects within entertainment, and was a co-writer on what became known as the unofficial Australian anthem You’re the Voice, sung by John Farnham.

“His family would like to thank numerous well-wishers for their very kind messages. A private funeral will be held, and this page will be updated soon with details for those who would like to make a donation in his memory.

“Keith will be greatly missed.”

Andy Qunta, one of Reid’s co-writers on You’re The Voice, added, “Very sorry to learn of the passing of my friend and co-writing partner, Keith Reid. Keith was the lyricist for all the Procul Harum songs, including A Whiter Shade Of Pale, which I absolutely loved. 

"It was a dream come true to be able to work with him on several songs, the first of which was John Farnham’s hit You’re The Voice, a collaboration with Chris Thompson and Maggie Ryder.

“Keith was a lovely guy and a massive talent who will be very much missed. Condolences to Pinkey and the family.”