Procol Harum is the debut studio album by English rock band Procol Harum. It was released in September 1967 by record label Regal Zonophone following their breakthrough and immensely popular single "A Whiter Shade of Pale". The track doesn't appear on the original album but was included in the US issue of the album.
All songs were originally credited written to Gary Brooker (music) and Keith Reid (lyrics), except "Repent Walpurgis" written by Matthew Fisher, after works by French organist Charles-Marie Widor and German composer Johann Sebastian Bach. In 2005, Matthew Fisher filed suit in the Royal Courts of Justice against Gary Brooker and his publisher, claiming that Fisher co-wrote the music for "A Whiter Shade of Pale". On 30 July 2009 the House of Lords issued a final verdict on the case in Fisher's favour. A lower court had ruled in Fisher's favour in 2006, granting him co-writing credits and a share of the royalties. A higher court partly overturned the ruling in 2008, giving Fisher co-writing credit but no money. The Court of Appeal had previously held that Fisher had waited too long to bring his claim to court. The House of Lords disagreed, stating there was no time limitation for such claims. Lord David Neuberger of Abbotsbury's opinion stated: "Fisher's subsequent contribution was significant, and, especially the introductory eight bars, an important factor in the work's success...".
Procol Harum's lyricist Keith Reid told Songfacts that the music for "Conquistador" was written before the lyrics. He added that this was unusual as "99 out of 100" of the Procol Harum songs, back then, "were written the words first, and then were set to music."
Procol Harum was released in September 1967. Though the album was recorded on multitrack, it was issued as mono-only in the UK, and in mono and rechannelled stereo in the US. Despite extensive searching, the original multitrack tapes have not been located and thus a stereo mix of the original ten tracks may never be possible. Several alternate takes, however, have been mixed into stereo and are available on CD.
The album has been repackaged and reissued many times. Two of the significant reissues are Procol Harum...Plus!, a 1998 CD compilation on the Westside label including all the songs from both the Deram and Regal Zonophone release, plus "Homburg" (the group's second single) and nine additional tracks from the period; and a monauralaudiophile vinyl LP edition released in 2003 by Classic Records, with yet a different track order, including "Homburg" as the opening track and without "A Whiter Shade of Pale" or "Good Captain Clack". The set includes bonus singles of the original monaural and alternate stereo versions of "A Whiter Shade of Pale". A 2009 remaster by Salvo Records, using the original mono masters, was released, with bonus tracks including the singles "A Whiter Shade of Pale", "Homburg", B-sides and alternate stereo takes. However, many of the tracks are played at a higher speed. A 2015 remaster by Cherry Red Records expands the album into a 2-CD set.