Thursday, December 22, 2011

Procol Harum: A Whiter Shade Of Pale

Procol Harum performs its most well-known song, "A Whiter Shade of Pale," accompanied by the Danish National Concert Orchestra and Choir, at Denmark's Ledreborg Castle on August 20, 2006. The blend of rock and classical music is nicely and beautifully done. The influences of J.S. Bach are noticeable in this piece.


Procol Harum, a British pop group, made its international debut with this song in May 1967. It became number 1 by July 1967, and remains popular. Rolling Stone magazine, in its 2004 listing of the 500 greatest rock songs of all time, ranked the song number 57.

The band's name, which uses Latin nomenclature, raises many questions in the minds of the intellectually curious as to its meaning, Yet, the way it is written, Procul Harum cannot be translated into anything in formal Latin. The meaning, as understand by popular culture is "Beyond the Pale."

There is a website dedicated to the band bearing that tagline. Gary Brooker, singing, is the remaining original member of the band.

A Whiter Shade of Pale
by Gary Brooker, Keith Reid and Matthew Fisher

We skipped the light fandango
Turned cartwheels 'cross the floor
I was feeling kinda seasick
But the crowd called out for more
The room was humming harder
As the ceiling flew away
When we called out for another drink
The waiter brought a tray

And so it was that later
As the miller told his tale
That her face, at first just ghostly,
Turned a whiter shade of pale

She said there is no reason
And the truth is plain to see.
But I wandered through my playing cards
And would not let her be
One of sixteen vestal virgins
Who were leaving for the coast
And although my eyes were open
They might have just as well've been closed

And so it was that later
As the miller told his tale
That her face, at first just ghostly,
Turned a whiter shade of pale

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