Alan Cartwright, Procol Harum‘s bassist from 1971 to 1976, died on March 4 at age 75.
The musician, born Oct. 10, 1945, first met Procol Harum singer-keyboardist Gary Brooker in 1966, having grown up in the same region of Edmonton/Enfield, England. He joined the progressive rock band five years later, first appearing on their influential 1972 recording, Procol Harum Live: In Concert With the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and remaining in the group for three studio albums: 1973’s Grand Hotel, 1974’s Exotic Birds and Fruit and 1975’s Procol’s Ninth.
“It is with great sadness that I heard of the passing of Alan Cartwright, bassist with Procol Harum from 1971–1976,” Brooker wrote on March 8. “Looking back, he was always a very solid, musical, and reliable bass player, and a good bloke who gave of his best both in the studio and on the extensive tours Procol did when he was with us.”
In his message – posted to Procolharum.com, a fan page which the band links to from their verified Facebook page – Brooker added that he and Cartwright “lost touch” around the time of Procol Harum’s 1977 LP, Something Magic, which became their final record for nearly 14 years.
“It wasn’t until 1997, when Shine On put together the Thirtieth Anniversary gig in Redhill, that we made contact again and he appeared in the multi-Harum reunion,” he wrote. “It was such a pleasure to see him, but sad that he wasn’t playing bass much anymore — the break-up of PH in 1977 seemed to send so many of us off into uncharted waters.”
“I often think of those very rich years when Alan, Mick Grabham, BJ [Wilson] and [Chris] Copping were my constant companions, sharing music, humour, endless voyages, and cocktails – only five years but, to me, the most memorable Procol Harum era of all time thanks to the wonderful positive presence of Cartwright. … Rest in peace, Alan.”
The band’s Facebook page corroborated the news, stating it was “very sad to hear” of Cartwright’s passing.