B. J. Wilson was the drummer for Procol Harum ("A Whiter Shade of Pale"). He was one of my favorite drummers as I was growing up, a hero really, a huge influence, and I had the pleasure of getting to know B.J. later on in my career.
I loved their first album and was really drawn to his style. He played in a very orchestrated and grand style. Busy, but very, very creative and very, very powerful.
In 1977, on our Quietest Moments tour, Procol Harum was our opening act. I was thrilled at the prospect of seeing this guy play up close. Well I got to see him up close over about six shows and he was incredible. He made me very nervous. He was a tough act to follow as they say. We talked through the course of these shows and became friendly acquaintances.
Later in his career, after the breakup of Procol, he was again playing with Joe Cocker. B.J. had played on Joe's debut record, playing drums on A Little Help From My Friends" and Just Like a Woman.
When I got hold of B.J. to ask him to play, he was coming to LA with Joe Cocker for a few shows and said he would have time and would be happy to. Imagine that. As it happened, Joe joined us on the 1983 Famous Last Words tour as a support act for five or six shows in Germany, with B. J. playing drums.
Being on the road with B. J. again was a blast. He was playing great and was a sweetheart to know. A great fellow. He came to our final show of 1983 near Los Angeles and joined me for our after-gig party. We got smashed and laughed a lot. He fell asleep somewhere in Rick Davies' back yard, to Rick's surprise and delight the next morning.
I never saw him again after that night. We spoke on the phone occasionally and we wrote letters. His full name is Barry James Wilson and he passed away in the fall of 1990.