Procol Harum: “Conquistador”

ALBUM: (Original studio recording) Procol Harum; (hit version) Procol Harum Live In Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra

YEAR: (studio) 1967; 1972

WRITERS: Gary Brooker and Keith Reid

The studio version wasn’t released as a single, five years later the live cut peaked at number-16 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“Conquistador” was written by Procol Harum’s keyboardist Gary Brooker and lyricist Keith Reid for their 1967 debut album. It wasn’t until five years later that a live version, recorded with a symphony orchestra, ended up a Top 20 hit. Reid recalls their writing session for the song. “Most of the songs I wrote for Procol Harum, I wrote the words first and gave them to Gary and he set them to music. But ‘Conquistador’ was one of the few songs where we actually sat down in a room and wrote the song together. He had a little chord thing and he just played it for me and somehow in my head it sort of – ‘Conquistador.’ It was really just sitting in a room with him and him playing at the piano and me just writing the song as we went along.”

Procol Harum lyricist Keith Reid celebrates his 70th birthday today (October 19th).


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