Procol Harum frontman Gary Brooker, who led the band throughout its 55 years with a commanding, blues-inspired tenor and a progressive, classically inspired sense of melody, died at his home in London from cancer on Saturday. The "Whiter Shade of Pale" singer was 76.

“Gary’s voice and piano were the single defining constant of Procol’s 50-year international concert career,” the band said in a joint statement on their web page. “Without any stage antics or other gimmicks, he was invariably the most-watchable musician in the show. His masterpiece, 1969’s ‘A Salty Dog,’ derived its instantly recognizable opening chord from a Swiss locomotive siren, yet as with all his finest pieces, its harmonic structure evolves with intriguing, unpredictable logic and carries the listener on a thrilling emotional voyage. And Gary's charisma was by no means confined to the stage; he lit up any room he entered, and his kindness to a multilingual family of fans was legendary. He was notable for his individuality, integrity and occasionally stubborn eccentricity. His mordant wit and appetite for the ridiculous made him a priceless raconteur.”

Procol Harum’s ambitious, often psychedelic take on pop music was heavy on orchestration. Their debut smash, 1967’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale”—which has sold more than 10m copies—included a Bach melody and they were the first rock act to tour with a string section and chorus. Their In Concert With the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, which included the hit “Conquistador,” was their highest-charting set, reaching #5 in 1972.

A self-taught keyboardist, Brooker formed his first band, The Paramounts, in 1962 with guitarist Robin Trower. They counted The Rolling Stones among their fans. Brooker and lyricist Keith Reid formed Procol Harum in 1966 with Trower and organist Matthew Fisher.

The band released four albums for A&M, including the prog-rock precursor Shine on Brightly, before moving to Chrysalis for 1971’s Broken Barricades. Brooker was the lone original member by the time of their final album, 1977’s Something Magic. He released three solo albums between 1979 and 1985 and for a short while was in Eric Clapton’s band.

Brooker, Fisher, Trower and Reid reunited in 1991 for The Prodigal Stranger, touring on and off until 1995. Brooker and Fisher created a new version of the band in 2001, which Fisher left in 2005. The latest Booker-led Procol Harum had a full slate of shows scheduled for 2022 that had been postponed over the last two years.

At various times Booker was also a member of Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings and Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band. He has a handful of solo studio credits, among them George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, Somewhere in England and Gone Troppo; The Alan Parsons Project’s “Limelight”; and Kate Bush’s Aerial.

A native of Hackney, East London, Brooker was awarded the M.B.E. in 2003 for his charitable work.