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A Whiter Shade of Pale


We kill two birds with one song this week. We celebrate the birthday of vocalist Gary Brooker, who turns 65 today, and we enjoy his group, Procol Harum's, biggest hit, released in 1967.
Brooker founded Procol Harum in the mid 60s. In the 70s he played in Eric Clapton's band for a time and today often tours with former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman's group the Ryhthm Kings.
As a child of the 60s I could never make up my mind which was more bizarre - the group's name or the lyrics to A Whiter Shade of Pale.




We skipped a light fandango,
Turned cartwheels 'cross the floor.
I was feeling kind of 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
That 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 just as well have been closed.
And so it was later,
As the miller told his tale,
That her face at first just ghostly,
Turned a whiter shade of pale.

Comments

nipsy said…
Thank you for sharing that. I am only slightly surprised that I had never heard of him before Its always nice to hear a new (at least for me) player.
Me-Me King said…
This is one of my all time favorites. I knew a guy in high school that played this on his Hammond B-3. "Conquistador" is another one of their fine selections.

Have a great weekend!
DouglasDyer said…
You want a whiter shade of pale, check out these gams! Oh yeah, feel the glow.
Expat From Hell said…
Love the song, and the memory of all of this. Also hard for me to understand that supposedly Robin Trower came from this group. Strange days, indeed. Thanks for posting this.

EFH
Don said…
I grew up with that music too, and I'll swear it's just as weird sober as it was being in a haze.
nonamedufus said…
nipsy: Consider me your masterful musical meanderer.

Me-Me: It's one of my favourites too. Timeless.

Doug: Been doing a lot of fandango?

Expat: Glad you enjoyed it.

Don: I don't think the fella that wrote the lyrics was sober.
Anonymous said…
Love the oldie music part of the blog. Brings back a lot of great memories.
Anonymous said…
Here's the missing verse, the song only performed fully in public a few times. Quoth Brooker 'I took it out because I was puffed.' More like, because it was better without it...

"If music be the food of life
And laughter is its queen
And likewise if behind's in front
Then dirt in truth is clean
My mouth by then like cardboard
Seemed to slip straight through my head
So we crashed dived straight way quickly
And attacked the ocean bed."

-- I love this song. If for some terminally yet predictable reason, I can predict the moment before I pass on, this is one of the last songs I'd like to hear. I used to say I wanted it played at my funeral, but where's the fun in that for *me*, if I'm the only one who wanted to hear it? :-)

Thanks for sharing...

Ms. Thirty Something.
nonamedufus said…
Anon #1: Thanks, I enjoy researching and sharing the classic clips.

Ms Thirty Something: Your lost verse is preceded by this lost verse...
She said, 'I'm home on shore leave,'
though in truth we were at sea
so I took her by the looking glass
and forced her to agree
saying, 'You must be the mermaid
who took Neptune for a ride.'
But she smiled at me so sadly
that my anger straightway died
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
nonamedufus said…
Anon #1: Thanks, I enjoy researching and sharing the classic clips.

Ms Thirty Something: Your lost verse is preceded by this lost verse...
She said, 'I'm home on shore leave,'
though in truth we were at sea
so I took her by the looking glass
and forced her to agree
saying, 'You must be the mermaid
who took Neptune for a ride.'
But she smiled at me so sadly
that my anger straightway died

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