Procol Harum - A Whiter Shade of Pale - Live 1968 (Robin Trower on Guitar)

Procol Harum - A Whiter Shade of Pale - Live 1968 (Robin Trower on Guitar)





Gary Brooker recalled the writing of the music in an interview with Uncut magazine February 2008: "I'd been listening to a lot of classical music, and jazz. Having played rock and R&B for years, my vistas had opened up. When I met Keith, seeing his words, I thought, 'I'd like to write something to that.' They weren't obvious, but that doesn't matter. You don't have to know what he means, as long as you communicate an atmosphere. 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale' seemed to be about two people, a relationship even. It's a memory. There was a leaving, and a sadness about it. To get the soul of those lyrics across vocally, to make people feel that, was quite an accomplishment.


I remember the day it arrived: four very long stanzas, I thought, 'Here's something.' I happened to be at the piano when I read them, already playing a musical idea. It fitted the lyrics within a couple of hours. Things can be gifted. If you trace the chordal element, it does a bar or two of Bach's 'Air on a G String' before it veers off. That spark was all it took. I wasn't consciously combining rock with classical, it's just that Bach's music was in me."








Lyrics


We skipped the light fandango

Turned cartwheels 'cross the floor

I was feeling kind a 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, 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


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 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


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




Songwriters: keith reid & gary brooker




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