Procol Harum – A Whiter Shade Of Pale | The story behind the song | Top 2000 a gogo


When Procol Harum started and that era from then the whole atmosphere changed slightly until things became Really a bit more important and a bit more serious and a bit more artistic Everyone had started becoming more experimental. You know the art was kind of creeping in I Do remember Having this musical idea which I worked out on the piano air or g-string which was a Bach composition and it came out, but I think when I got after about the first two bars. I Think I got it wrong kind of thing or didn’t remember where it went, but I just carried on in my own way Then I wrote this sequence, which had a bit of Bach like melody over the top But Air on G srting thingy Just in that style And I think it was about then that an envelope I believe arrived that morning or something and I opened it and it was some new lyrics from Keith and the first one that I opened was A whiter shade of pale We skipped the light fandango Turns cartwheels cross the floor I was feeling kind of seasick The crowd called out for more The room was humming harder As the ceiling flew away You know I was at a party just a bunch of people sitting around and having a good time and They were talking about a friend of theirs They were really they were saying you kind of look a bit strange Or you look a little pale Or this I overheard this little conversation, and I turned that into that phrase a whiter shade of power 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 I’m very I’m always been very interested in visual you know in in in pictures in painting in cinema You know I’ve always been interested in visual stuff and so You you try and come up with that in words you try and and I mean these are very abstract things But it’s kind of what you’re trying to express and that’s the way I work Basically with an idea you know building going from a little P. You know you could say if you were painter You know a few brush strokes, and you look at it, and you go hmm. What is that? What could that be? kind of like a Being at them yeah toulouse-lautrec type picture You 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 i used to like cursed. I still do I used to like the surrealist painters very much, so like a Dali painting You might think I’d like I’d like the song. I’d like it to feel like a Dali painting looks you know clocks dissolving and Just fantastical things, you know the colors that somebody would use in a picture you try and come up with that in Word 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 It was out before Sergeant Pepper album and before a lot of other things it was it was the very first Attempt to really go off on into another angle, I think we there was no fashion or style that was like a whiter shade of pale and Which is button possibly one of the reasons that it? It shocks and affected everybody Was that it wasn’t like anything else And so it was

100 thoughts on “Procol Harum – A Whiter Shade Of Pale | The story behind the song | Top 2000 a gogo

  1. “ a bit “ of Bach ? You tune thief. Bach should have been credited as the music writer. Shameless money grab.

  2. Did ,not this Song knock a Beatle tune out of Number one , back then ? By the way, B.J. Wilson was a Phenom of Drumming then. Jimmy Page, asked hIm first to join the new Band ,He turned Him down ..

  3. Im a 68 yo music lovin boomer. Ive heard it from elvis to k pop. this is my fav song

  4. The organ in this timeless piece of beautiful music gives off an almost prayer- like church atmosphere. I have loved it since my childhood. Still gives me chills, even after all these years.

  5. Always though of it as a song about being not just stoned, but way out there in a club – likely on an acid trip. If that wasn't it, it sure could have been. But whatever, the music fit the lyrics fit the music and the haunting Hammond organ just carries the mind along like a stream of consciousness which brings me back to acid trip freeing the mind togo where it will. Classic song..

  6. I had always thought it was "as the MIRROR told it's tale" Which in my humble opinion is better

  7. I first heard this song when i was 15. I'm now 50 and still listen to it and love it so much.

  8. In nursing homes they always play music of the era of their residents. Soon, they will be playing this and Beatles and in a few more years it will be heavy metal for my generation. I will be in there listening to Stairway To Heaven, Kick Start My Heart and For Whom The Bell Tolls.

  9. Its kind of nice to know this song wasnt about drugs like so many dumbasses claim. Amazing song from one of the greatest eras. I mean Lennon loved this song.. need i say more?

  10. Lyrics, melody, vocals, all mastery. During road trips in Europe I would have this song on repeat. Gary and I wandered through our playing cards for endless kilometers of beautiful scenery. Never gets old.

  11. I always thought the words pertained to some sort of ship that may have been hit a storm and the bow was a carved white woman that was hit by the storm. The ship was sailing for the first time, thus vestal virgin.

  12. I'm the only African American or "black" person I know who Loves this haunting laid back player 1970s Mack Superfly atmosphere. My abstract Nerd mind makes people call me crazy. Great music in your mind and Soul helps when Superstitious CRAZY insane people do the stupid things around us. There is no place in Millwili, WI for intelligent people afterhours….thanks Jesus…not

  13. A classic song and I am sure it was hard to write, but the flow was easy to listen to

  14. After 50 years I discovered here today that this song has a meaning it did not seem to have. It seems that I am still inside my childhood, in Brazil, obrigado Harum, obrigado Top 2000, 2019>>

  15. I was at school when this came out and 52 years later still enjoying it

  16. I used to turn a whiter shade of pale with all those drugs back then. But people weren't overdosing all over the country like they are now on the Mexican poison.

  17. Key word is "melodic". I to dabble in Dali and like to get back to Bach.

  18. I turned 10 in the year "Shade" was released. I'll be 62 in a couple of months, and "A Whiter Shade Of Pale" will always be my favorite song from that era. To me it was the 'entrance' to 'Sgt. Pepper" and "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn". The ultimate summer of love hit. What? No, it never gets bored.

  19. The first time John Lennon heard this song he was being interviewed in the back seat of his psychedelic Rolls Royce driving through London. …. As soon as the organ melody began he turned to the reporter and SHUSHED HIM. … Then he listened to the whole song in seeming amazement, motionless….. When it was done he turned to the reporter and said solemnly, "That is the best goddamn song I have EVER HEARD."

  20. So long ago and such memories. They don't make music like this any more. It never dates.

  21. Who was the guy talking? This is one of the greatest original songs ever. You really can feel the trippy days of incense and protest and love ins by just listening to this song. SInce this dude was explaining this song, and the visually surreal type of music video here, then why didn't he even mention the dude in the tight white pants who is hung so big that you can't take your eyes off of it?

  22. 5:25 "It (the song) shocked everybody (in the rock world) because it wasn't like anything else (out there)" ——-be sure to thank Johann Sebastian Bach, boys.

  23. This one you will forever remember where you were when you first heard it! Priceless!

  24. His voice was super in his prime and even in his later years and the one of his best was in Holland in 2006. Last time I heard him in his Vienna concert in Oct 2018. It was so sad to hear and see him in his late years but still happy that he is singing. Keep going GB.

  25. A whiter shade of pale is a CORPSE. This is a funeral song written for a human satanic sacrifice of a virgin. Wake up people- you are being deceived by the master musician, satan himself. We rebuke the notes and power of this song in Jesus Name- we render this powerless over any human emotion. Please wake up from ur lazy slumber humans.

  26. Happy birthday Gary!!! Many more fruitful years to come. The world needs a man like you…29May2019

  27. I have such great memories of the time. Here in South Texas it gets real hot. So we would go to indoor a/c roller skating rink and Trip the lights fantastic.

  28. I can't get enough of this song. It is eternal to me! The live version in Denmark is amazing!

  29. So it means…..
    What?
    <speaking for the artisticly challenged>
    Is it supposed to be interpreted by the listener? Excuse my ignorance.

  30. What about Matthew Fisher? I thought he was the one who came up with the Bach-like organ parts. He's the one who played the organ.

  31. Love this song so much, so unique and artistic and it was after all, 1969. As Hendrix would confer, "what if a 6 turned out to be 9"…

  32. Did anyone ever see Procol Harum live in the early '70's and they refused to play "Whiter Shade of Pale", claiming "that was our old stuff, man…"?

  33. Could be my all time favorite…
    Just stops me in my tracks when i hear it….and i remember when it came out…..lol

  34. One of the greatest mysti Al sounding songs I still get chills after 50 years of listening to it

  35. The video showing the greatest sounds from a great band. Procol Harum gave us the best for our ears. 👍👍

  36. I planned my funeral and it
    Looked like so much fun that
    I decided to have my funeral
    While I still alive and not when i' m
    Dead!!!!

  37. This is the quintessential cover of covers. Cleverly disguised beneath rock drumming and heavier bass this is priceless, here to stay. Think JSB did not even have a lousy Walmart speaker to monitor himself. Those classical composers must have been some serious musical dudes. This song brings them into the swinging 60s.

  38. Free flow associative poem set to Bach like organ. Good weed n acid.

  39. in 1967 john lennon would play this song over and over..he loved it…and you can hear the influence in MIND GAMES

  40. See, Bohemian Rhapsody wasn't the first promotional video…..

  41. First heard this song at Cloud Nine, on Rt. 110 on Long Island< N. Y. Those were the days.

  42. Shit, if that song came out in 2019, the liberals would call it racists. Love the song

  43. In the Canterbury Tales by Chaucer, several characters are said to have pale faces and the saying "when the miller told his tale" is directly from that book, as a miller was on the several characters who tales on their way to Canterbury.

  44. It brings back fond memories of summer 1967. She was lovely! 🙂

  45. Procol Harum for me are indeed one of the most important bands in all genres.. combining prog, classical, baroque, soul. This song has been in my consciousness since my pre-teens and never sounds old or stale. As a radio disc jockey said the other day… it is one of the best and most perfect songs ever produced. Hey for this to influence the Beatles and Stones you know this is on that level. God bless Procol, Mr. Brooker and everyone that keeps this incredible music alive in this medium and any medium for that matter.
    Tino

  46. Do yourself a favor and listen to the live version of this song with orchestra accompaniment…its my favorite version.

  47. Abstract Song with Abstract definition by the Artist. The Lemon Song By Led-Zeppelin Must Be a Bob Ross Knock-off Then? ….Albeit From the Same Artistic Period Really but Maybe Not. Who knows. Both are Beautiful in their own Wright Right?

  48. In general, Whether the 60’s or later decades it just seemed like the English kids took more chances then America kids. Hence the reason there was a few British Invasion here in the US. Even with blues guitar a purely American art form Americans just seem to gravitate to what the English did with it. Page, Beck etc or even later. Then you have all the great visual bands of the 1980’s and early MTV era. I’m American and it’s slightly hard to admit but the world or pop and rock would have sucked if it wasn’t for that island of ass holes and tough bastards.

  49. In 1997 I moved into a place that had an old organ and the first thing I did was try to play this song.

  50. i say them in 1972 in va beach. it was awesome.we had third row,my ears rang for three days.

  51. No matter how many times I listen to this song it gets better every time best music ever 1960s and 1970s I lived through them

  52. I get a little sad seeing the old songs being sung by the original young group, in my era. I was 17 yrs old when he sang this song, which is still great.

  53. Reminds me of Vietnam ,and perhaps a beautiful woman hearing for the first time that a friend was killed there!

  54. I rediscovered this song in the SciFi movie Obivion (one of my top 5 favourite movies of all time). An absolute masterpiece. One of my all time favourite songs. Love seeing the video of the master sing it live in Denmark 2006. Wish I was there.

  55. It just shows how good this song is when at 0:29 HRH Queen Elizabeth II is playing violin on the track

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