Procol Harum – A Souvenir Of London (1973)

Procol_Harum_Grand

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. Although on the surface “Grand Hotel” appears to be a concept album according to lyricist Keith Reid the “concept” doesn’t extend beyond the title tune. 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.

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