Procol Harum – A Whiter Shade Of Pale

Procol Harum – A Whiter Shade Of Pale

Procol Harum - A Whiter Shade Of Pale

July, 1967. ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ is the #1 song in the world. But it’s more than that. This is an era of rock revelations; each year has seen the deepening of rock as art. The Beatles have gone from ‘Hard Day’s Night’ to ‘Revolver’ to ‘Sgt. Pepper.’ And now there is ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale,’ one song that has instantly defined something new: ‘classical rock.’ It’s the melding of rock’s electric guitar, powerful vocals and bombastic drums with thoughtful lyrics and the artful complexities of classical melody and arrangement. The very name of the group suggested something far deeper than ordinary pop music … PROCOL HARUM.

The oddly-named band had arrived out of nowhere with a #1 hit. To add to the thrill and confusion, the song was enigmatic (many to this day aren’t exactly sure what it’s about), the group was already fractured by changes in personnel, and by the time people learned what the band’s name meant (even if to this day they rarely seem to spell it right), the group’s stunning #1 reign was over. The #1 hit was like a massive earthquake; unforgettable but unrepeatable. Over the next decade, there were plenty of songs that could have been #1 hits. For fans, every new album became a classic, filled with memorable and moving songs. And while rock critics argued whether the next lp should be ‘more rock’ or ‘more classical,’ and whether singles like ‘Homburg’ and ‘Conquistador’ were as good as the legendary ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale,’ and indeed, amid the confusing disappearance of various band members, all fans hoped was that ‘still there’ll be more.’

If you’re new to the band, this ‘history’ of the band might help you find your way through the years. If you’re an old friend and fan, maybe you’ll find some glimpses of nirvana in recalling with me the memories that still shine on brightly. Gary Brooker (vocals, piano) Robin Trower (guitar) and B.J. Wilson (drums) joined forces in the early 60’s. Their band was THE PARAMOUNTS influenced, as were so many British bands, by American R&B. Their first single, released in 1963, was a cover of The Coasters’ ‘Poison Ivy.’ (They also did a wicked version of ‘Bad Blood,’ and a few originals co-written by the team of Brooker/Trower). The Beatles had chart hits with old Chuck Berry tunes, The Animals adapted ‘House of the Rising Sun,’ but these and other bands soon found their own voices via original material.  Read More…

Got a request?
Want a song dedicated to you?
Please Contact Us with the song and artist you like, the name you want published and we will do our best to find it.
Nicknames are fine but nothing rude, please.