Backtracks: Robin Trower – Bridge of Sighs

We are not sure how Robin feels about it, but throughout his musical travels he has been tagged as ‘the white Jimi Hendrix’, and most rock followers would agree that his talent and style make him deserving of the comparison.

His early years growing up in London uncovered his musical talents, and at age 17 he started playing with a band – The Paramounts. The history of the group is somewhat mysterious. Some remember the beginning of the outfit was known as “The Raiders” at the very end of the 1950’s when the youngsters were teenagers, and others claim the kids were perhaps the first “manufactured” group, winners of a band competition at the Palace Hotel in London. The Raiders members were guitarists Robin Trower and Chris Copping, singer Mick Trower, Robin’s big brother, and drummer Gary Nicholls. The Paramounts version of the history begins in September 1960, when Robin linked up with keyboard guru Gary Brooker, drummer Mick Brownlee and bassist Chris Copping while Bob Scott held the vocal lead. 

The group lasted about four years and one of the rotating cast of musicians included Gary Brooker. Trower kicked around for awhile, pursuing various projects. Shortly after their debut single “A Whiter Shade of Pale” became wildly popular, Trower joined Procol Harum in 1967. His years of skill and creativity with the influential originators of symphonic rock – and the “progression” to progressive rock – ended following the release of Broken Barricades in 1971. The album features a tribute to Jimi Hendrix (“Song for a Dreamer”) written by Trower and Keith Reid. Trower and Reid were stunned by Hendrix’s death at the age of only 27.

Trower made the decision to part company with Procol Harum in 1971. He had been the guitarist for almost the entire history of the group, and his involvement with many of the players led to his association with the infamy of “A Whiter Shade of Pale”, Credit: Wikipediathe single from May of ’67 that plays perhaps every hour somewhere on Earth.

In 1977, the song was named joint winner (along with Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”) of the Best British Pop Single 1952–1977 at the Brit Awards. In 1998 the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. More than 1,000 recorded cover versions by other artists are known.

Following his departure from the group, he persuaded vocalist Frankie Miller, ex-Stone the Crows bassist/singer James Dewar, and former Jethro Tull drummer Clive Bunker to join his musical clan that he called Jude. They would prove fruitless, with no real recordings to speak of, and the guys soon moved on. Reg Isadore got onboard with Trower and Dewar to form the power trio upstart Robin Trower Band in 1973. 

When you have about 38 free minutes you can hear a great album from a great guitarist. Bridge of Sighs came out in April of 1974 and is the second album from Trower and crew. The record made Top Ten in the States, climbing into the number 7 slot while riding the charts for 31 weeks. The disc attained Gold Record status in September that year, and the first printings had an upside-down version of the cover image, and they had a deeper green color. In 1999 the album was enhanced with bonus tracks and remastered and remixed. Years later the album was once again remastered, in 2007, with eight eight bonus tracks taken from BBC Radio recordings.

During the mid seventies Trower continued producing albums, one a year until 1979. He has recorded with various artists such as Jack Bruce of Cream, Bryan Ferry, and bandmate Brewer. His live recordings are a thing of beauty, and his 2005 Living Out of Time: Live from his gig in Bonn, Germany, is out on DVD as well. Several of his compilation records belong in true classic rock collections we endorse his music on all fronts. In 1991 Trower played on the Night of the Guitars II European tour put together by Police manager Miles Copeland.

Robin Trower has continued to produce albums and perform live year after year. Time and Emotion, his newest effort, reaffirms his promise he made when he first went solo more than 40 years ago: keep rocking, wherever the journey takes you. For more than half a century Trower has been a persistent force in rock music. His talent and his tenacity have influenced music and he’s what you might call a ‘Super Trouper’. Bridge of Sighs will make you sigh, it’s one of a handful of early power outfits that came down the pike in the 1970’s. Learn more info about Robin and follow his activities by visiting his Trower Power website or from many other popular social media and classic rock resources.



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