Grand Hotel (album)

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Grand Hotel
Procol Harum Grand.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 1973
GenreProgressive rock, symphonic rock
Length41:09
LabelChrysalis
Repertoire (2000 German reissue)
ProducerChris Thomas
Procol Harum chronology
Procol Harum Live: In Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra
(1972)
Grand Hotel
(1973)
Exotic Birds and Fruit
(1974)

Grand Hotel is the sixth studio album by Procol Harum. Released in 1973, it signalled a change of direction for the band. Guitarist Dave Ball who had joined the band for their live album the previous year left shortly after the photo shoot for the proposed album's cover to be replaced by Mick Grabham. Grabham's head was superimposed on the front and back cover of the album on Ball's body. Although the band had gone through significant personnel changes in previous years, the band would enter its most stable phase with this line up.

The album reached No. 21 on the Billboard album charts. It peaked at #4 in Denmark,[1] where the group was always well received.

Although "Grand Hotel" appears on the surface to be a concept album, the "concept", according to lyricist Keith Reid, doesn't extend beyond the title tune.[2]

The single "A Souvenir of London" was banned by the BBC for its reference to venereal disease in the lyrics of the song. Reid claimed that the song was really inspired (regardless of how it turned out and was interpreted) by a visit to a souvenir shop near George Martin's Air Studios. "Almost every album has had at least one comic song...and this one was a bit tongue in cheek" Reid stated as part of an interview for the 2009 CD reissue.[3]

Critical reception[edit]

In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone, Bud Scoppa called Grand Hotel a "confused and uneven transitional album" and "a collection of overblown production jobs that, at their worst, approach self-parody, and simpler, less grandiose tracks that suggest Procol Harum may yet find a way out of the corner they have worked themselves into."[4] Robert Christgau gave it a "C" grade in The Village Voice, similarly noting the split in musical identity: "For years, these guys have vacillated between a menu of grits that certainly ain't groceries and larks' tongues in aspic. Despite their current white-tie conceit, they still haven't decided."[5]

In a retrospective review, AllMusic's James A. Gardner gave the album three-and-a-half out of five stars and said the replacement of the band's original guitarist Robin Trower with the "capable, even powerful, but not nearly as distinctive" Mick Grabham resulted in a greater reliance on "ornate arrangements than guitar riffs, making this somewhat more dignified than either of their previous studio albums, Home and Broken Barricades."[6]

2009 Salvo reissue[edit]

In 2009 Salvo reissued the CD remastered by Nick Robbins. Vocalist/keyboardist/composer Gary Brooker and lyricist Keith Reid supplemented the original CD with two bonus tracks. Both were "raw" tracks i.e., they did not feature overdubs. "Bringing Home The Bacon" one of the bonus tracks is the only one to feature former guitarist Dave Ball. The 2009 reissue also featured an essay by Patrick Humphries and was reissued in a cardboard sleeve.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Gary Brooker and Keith Reid.

Side one
No.TitleLength
1."Grand Hotel"6:10
2."Toujours l'amour"3:31
3."A Rum Tale"3:20
4."TV Caesar"5:52
Side two
No.TitleLength
1."A Souvenir of London"3:23
2."Bringing Home the Bacon"4:21
3."For Liquorice John"4:27
4."Fires (Which Burnt Brightly)"5:10
5."Robert's Box"4:45
Salvo Bonus Tracks
No.TitleLength
1."Grand Hotel" (Raw track)6:07
2."Bringing Home the Bacon" (Raw track featuring Dave Ball on guitar)6:06

Personnel[edit]

Procol Harum

with:

Technical
  • John Punter - engineer
  • Spencer Zahn - artwork, design
  • Jeffrey Weisel - photography, drawings in internal booklet

Certifications[edit]

United Kingdom-Silver[7]

Legacy[edit]

Douglas Adams came up with the idea for The Restaurant at the End of the Universe while listening to the title track.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Danskehitlister.dk
  2. ^ Keith Reid Interview by Patrick Humphries for 2009 reissue booklet
  3. ^ Keith Reid interview by Patrick Humphries for 2009 reissue booklet
  4. ^ Scoppa, Bud (10 May 1973). "Procol Harum: Grand Hotel". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 20 April 2018. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  5. ^ Christgau, Robert (August 1973). "The Christgau Consumer Guide". Creem. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  6. ^ Grand Hotel at AllMusic
  7. ^ BPI Archived 21 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Adams, Douglas. The Salmon of Doubt.

External links[edit]