Keith Stuart Brian Reid (19 October 1946 – 23 March 2023) was an English lyricist and songwriter who wrote the lyrics of every song released by Procol Harum that was not previously recorded by someone else, with the exception of the songs on their 2017 album Novum.
Reid was born on 19 October 1946. He grew up in London and was Jewish, the son of a Holocaust survivor. He left school at an early age to pursue a songwriting career. He met Gary Brooker, lead singer with Procol Harum, with whom he co-wrote most of the band’s songs (some music was written by organist Matthew Fisher and by guitarist Robin Trower), in 1966.
They began collaborating, and their composition “A Whiter Shade of Pale”, Procol Harum’s first single, was released in 1967. It reached the top of the UK Singles Chart and sold over six million copies worldwide. Keith Reid was an official member of Procol Harum and attended all their recording sessions and most of their concert performances, despite having no performance role in the band. Reid continued to write lyrics for the band until they disbanded in 1977. Reid has said that the dark tone of his lyric writing derives from his familial experience of the Holocaust.
Reid also wrote the lyrics for two songs by the French singer Michel Polnareff in 1966 (“You’ll Be On My Mind” and “Time Will Tell”), and was co-writer for the John Farnham hit “You’re the Voice” (1986).
Reid moved to New York and founded a management company in 1986. He reunited with Brooker and Procol Harum for the albums The Prodigal Stranger (1991) and The Well’s on Fire (2003).
In August 2008, a new album, The Common Thread, was issued under The Keith Reid Project banner. Reid wrote the lyrics for the songs, which were performed by a variety of musicians, including Southside Johnny, Chris Thompson, John Waite and Michael Saxell. The album was produced by Keith Reid and Matt Noble.
A new album from the Keith Reid Project, In My Head, was released in December 2018.
Reid died from cancer on 23 March 2023, at the age of 76. (wikipedia)
And here´s his second album with the Keith Reid Project:
Stumbled across this, and what an unexpected gem it turned out to be. It’s best listened to late in the evening, when guards are down and sudden jolts of tempo are not welcome. Every song is a story well told. I haven’t been this drawn in by a collection of music so quickly in quite some time.
The KRP Project used to be called The Keith Reid Project. Reid wrote all the lyrics for Procol Harum, except the most recent release. A few years ago, I bought the first Keith Reid Project, played it, shrugged and can’t remember anything about it. When Amazon threw up The KRP as a possible item of interest, I clicked, sampled the track “This Space is Vacant”, jumped over to YouTube, listened to the entire track and I ordered the CD.
Maya Saxell sings “This Space is Vacant”. I had never heard her before; she has a wounded, exhausted voice I find enchanting. It is the perfect voice to sing Keith Reid’s story about a homeless man, musically carried by the world’s saddest piano. Saxell sings lead on three other songs and they are all lifted by that emotive voice.
Reid’s excellent lyrics are carried by a number of other vocalists, including John Waite on “All I Need to Know”, one of the best love songs I’ve heard in quite a while. Everyone on this really shines. The music is strong and well crafted. The lyrics are absorbing and frequently funny, topics ranging from the horror of growing old, to how the world blows, to the Matthew Fisher lawsuit over “A Whiter Shade of Pale” credit. That’s well-rounded. This is smart music.
Obviously, I’m smitten with this thing. It’s cool when an album connects with you. If you’ve read this far, you should listen this album. (King Tito of Maine)
A wonderful album to say goodbye to Keith Reid … RIP !
Steve Booker (vocals on 03. + 10. all instruments on 10.)
Doug Kistner (keyboards on 08.)
Jon Korba (keyboards on 02., 03.)
Anthony Krizan (guitar, bass, drum programming, vocals on 02.. guitar, drums on 03., guitar on 08.)
Chris Merola (vocals on 06.)
Matt Noble (all instruments on 05. + 06.)
Keith Reid (supporting vocals on 02.)
Maya Saxell (vocals on 01., 04., 07. + 09.)
Rob Wasserman (guitar on 04.)
John Waite (vocals on 08.)
Anders Widmark (piano on 01., 07. + 09.)
Jeff Young (vocals on 05.)
01. This Space Is Vacant (Widmark) 4.12
02. In My Head (Krizan) 3.57
03. Thieves Road (Booker) 4.46
04. Ten More Shows (Wasserman) 3.17
05. The Bank Of Worry (Noble) 3.05
06. The Trial Of The Century (Noble) 3.34
07. Back From The Brink (Widmark) 3.48
08. All I Need To Know (Krizan/Waite) 5.06
09. Dance With Me (Widmark) 4.05
10. House Of Cards (Booker) 4.44
All lyrics by Keith Reid
Thanks very much for this remembrance. I fell for his wordsmithing with the release of the first Procol LP in 1967, and am saddened by his passing.