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Procol Harum — A Whiter Shade Of Pale
Album: Procul Harum
Avg rating:
8.4

Your rating:
Total ratings: 2217









Released: 1967
Length: 3:55
Plays (last 30 days): 0
We skipped the light fandango
Turned 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
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
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 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

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
Comments (402)add comment
{#Daisy}  {#Sunny}
 agent55317 wrote:
I'm always taken back to a Northern Exposure episode where Chris Stevens performs a funeral by trebuchet to this tune.

 

One of my great TV-viewing regrets is that I haven't been able to see all the episodes of this crazy-brilliant show. It was a tragedy when Rob Morrow left "Northern Exposure" to try his hand at movies. The show should have been able to adjust to that, but the writing went downhill during the final year. 
 slandering wrote:
wet-kisses-on-the-dancefloor song

 
Yes, usually played at the end of the night and if you were lucky it was the opportunity to get a hold of your partner and maybe a kiss.

Of course at the time as young men what we really wanted the DJ was to play next was... Je T'aime.

C'mon BillG - you missed a segue here.
 slandering wrote:
wet-kisses-on-the-dancefloor song

 
Exactly!{#Kiss}
Remember the movie "the commitments" when the dude played this on the pipe organ in the church...i've always wanted to hear someone rip out this divine melody live at Westminister Abbey or something...goosebumps
Agree with previous comment of sublime
"Je t'aime! Oui, je t'aime!!"

My first thought. (OK that was a bad one, I know. Still, I can't help it.)
Sublime!
Excuse me while I slip in to my time machine and read Steinbeck on the lawn chair in Clark on a perfect dandelion day in July. 
Another classic that when I hear it I simply sink into peace and memory and comfort.  Thank you for keeping this wonderful music in my life.
wet-kisses-on-the-dancefloor song
Better a Whiter Shade of Pale than Fifty Shades of Grey! LOL{#Lol}{#Roflol}{#Bounce}
Is there a button for "11"?
 dramo wrote:
Timeless!

 
Nah, definitely part of its time, but no lesser for it. It's kinda become the quintessential late 60's song that summed up the incredible social changes the western world was undergoing at the time. Or something. Whatever, it's good to listen too, but isn't timeless.
Timeless!
 ScottN wrote:
Uhm, certainly not.

 
I believe the most covered 'rock' songs of all time might be "Yesterday" by the Beatles or "To Love Somebody" by the career-underrated Bee Gees.


Agreed, top 10 of all time!
Top Ten of ALL Time!
A 10, because I've loved it since I was 10.
I love the italian version, by Dik Dik "Senza Luce":
https://youtu.be/F6-GQwTKn40?list=PLpSgV8PHxyZjGvDRJSNwHcvHzHpO8n0ao
A timeless classic
I'm always taken back to a Northern Exposure episode where Chris Stevens performs a funeral by trebuchet to this tune.
 raga wrote:
How would be mankind without this song?

 
(just for the pleasure to repeat this comment)
Andreas L:  " love it, but listen to the version of this song from DORO-German Heavy Metal Singer. This Woman is cool."

 Please upload for consideration by the DJ.  Danke schön.  

How would be mankind without this song?
 pinem wrote:
As much as I love this song (10), I like 'Salty Dog' best; went to see this band in summer of '72', six weeks after I got married, but the opening band blew them out of the water- The Eagles

 

Wow, great double-bill.  I'm guessing the "Embryonic Eagles" were a hell of a lot more fun to watch live than the "stationary bloated egomaniacs" they later became.
A great song but a far cry from Robin Trower's solo stuff which reminds me - it must just about be the day of the eagle
 
As much as I love this song (10), I like 'Salty Dog' best; went to see this band in summer of '72', six weeks after I got married, but the opening band blew them out of the water- The Eagles
 afrixluvguy wrote:
The most covered song ever, I believe. 
  Uhm, certainly not.


Immortal.  This and Repent Walpurgis, also by PH, were my intro to "alternative" FM.
I find myself half listening, involved in some mundane routine when suddenly, Bill hits me with something like this.  THIS is why I listen to RP.  Thanks, Bill
The most covered song ever, I believe. 
{#Bananapiano}
Très bonne musique, et que de souvenirs !!!!
Yes.  Yes.  So very nice....
 
{#Bananasplit}
 jagdriver wrote:
I can just envision John Winston O'Boogie Lennon listening to this repeatedly on the record player mounted in his chauffeur-driven, psychedelic Rolls on his way to party at His Majesty—Prince Jones' place, a.k.a., A.A. Milne's Cotchford Farm.

 
I know that Paul Mccartney said this is one of the song he wished he had wrote
I can just envision John Winston O'Boogie Lennon listening to this repeatedly on the record player mounted in his chauffeur-driven, psychedelic Rolls on his way to party at His Majesty—Prince Jones' place, a.k.a., A.A. Milne's Cotchford Farm.


Reading an inspection report and this song makes this chore bearable. Thanks, RP!{#Drunk}


One of the things I most like about RP is the fact that it allows me to finally identify amazing old songs that I heard 1000 times. So this is Protocol Harum ...
woa, shades of mattress on the floor and underground FM. Was it really that long ago?
Timeless.  We'll be listening to, and enjoying this in 2500.  Or at least somebody will.
Dream song{#Bananapiano}
What a nice song:-)
Thanks to wikipedia

"A Whiter Shade of Pale" is the debut song by the British rock band Procol Harum, released 12 May 1967. The single reached number one in the UK Singles Chart on 8 June 1967, and stayed there for six weeks. Without much promotion, it reached No. 5 on the US charts, as well. One of the anthems of the 1967 Summer of Love, it is one of fewer than 30 singles to have sold over 10 million copies worldwide.

With its haunting Bach-derived instrumental melody, soulful vocals, and unusual lyrics—by the song's co-authors Gary Brooker,Keith Reid, and Matthew Fisher — "A Whiter Shade of Pale" reached No. 1 in several countries when released in 1967. In the years since, it has become an enduring classic. It was the most played song in the last 75 years in public places in the UK (as of 2009), and the United Kingdom performing rights group Phonographic Performance Limited in 2004 recognised it as the most-played record by British broadcasting of the past 70 years. Also in 2004, Rolling Stone placed "A Whiter Shade of Pale" No. 57 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time."

 
 kingart wrote:
Who on the PLANET could follow Debussy with Procol Harum? 

Thinking of sitting on the 1967 summer lawn in Clark NJ reading Steinbeck and listening to this on WABC. Everything was beautiful. 

 

That is called a predictability lull in my library playlist!{#Lol}
Absolute classic - great vocal and organ playing.
Thanks to RP, this has been welded in my mind to the end of Air - Talisman.  I think if Bill didn't play this after Air, I'd think there was something wrong with the song.

As an organ player myself, this is a great song to listen to.
How I love that organ. Absolutely timeless.
Well!  That was the shortest version I've ever heard.
 Stingray wrote:

12, of course!

And an incredible album (like all early Harum-stuff)

 

PS

23 "1-voters". What to do with them? Hot oil or tar and feathers?

 
;) Glad to see you are still here and kicking!
what a sound! ....nice job guys!
Last waltz at the Dance-Orama
 angelomisterioso wrote:
Where else are you going to hear Debussy followed by Procol Harum. 💫
 
It works!
Classic!
Rather hear something else follow Debussy...than a tired and overrated song. Oh boy!
Where else are you going to hear Debussy followed by Procol Harum. 💫

12, of course!

And an incredible album (like all early Harum-stuff)

 

PS

23 "1-voters". What to do with them? Hot oil or tar and feathers?


Who on the PLANET could follow Debussy with Procol Harum? 

Thinking of sitting on the 1967 summer lawn in Clark NJ reading Steinbeck and listening to this on WABC. Everything was beautiful. 
A true classic....never tire of it.{#Clap}
Excellent tune (thanks, Bach), inane hippy lyrics... anything can pass for poetry these days - as long as it's vague enough someone will mistake it for wisdom.
 ThePoose wrote:
I remember more than one sweet young girl melting—figuratively and literally—as I held her and swayed to this tune at the end of the dance.
 

So...  that was YOU I was dancing with?? 
What a classic!! 8>>9 {#Cheers}
(Longer version in Pandora's Box)
a special piece of music, though I flashbacked to a goofy kevin costner stoner flik called Fandango
 
Memories. A 100% classic. Very few songs remind me more strongly of my youthful summers. I don't know whether to be wistful or to jump for the freedom and joy of it all.  Musically it's an 8, for all else it's a 20. 
HEAVEN HERE I COME.
Cannot get enough of this song - original, covers - it is all good! Thanks RP! I have spent the better part of a whole day listening and learning.
Some pretty good music today on RP {#Biggrin}
Ah memories......my older brother, who was a good musician, taught me the organ solo from this tune, back when the song was first played.  recently i was in this organ/piano store, and remembered enough of the music to play it fairly well.  surprised me big time, since i can't always remember what i had for lunch yesterday.
 ccwcool wrote:
Brings me back to being an 8 year old boy laying on the floor listening to CKLW on my transistor radio and being mesmerized by this incredible song.  
 
This was a standard at Detroit's Grande Ballroom (think SF Fillmore) during intermissions and such. I can never hear it without being instantly transported back there, before remnants of The Summer of Love faded forever after Altamont and such.


 Stratocaster wrote:

I daresay you are outnumbered by a factor of approximately 101,688 to 1.

I suggest a good detox, a hard shake of the head, and a complete re-evaluation of your value system.

 
 

I'm not sure what sort of calculations you employed to arrive at that factor, but I daresay it needs "re-evaluation" - there are less than 1,600 votes on this song.  I like this tune, personally, but I can also understand how some might find it tiresome and/or dated.  I usually don't agree with that poster's tastes, but just because someone's tastes to not correspond with those of the masses does not mean that those tastes require the therapies you prescribe above.  Most of the music I like is not embraced (or even known) by the majority of the population - in general, the most popular music is not the best music - it is often the opposite.

First time I ever danced slow was to Whiter Shade of Pale.  10th grade.  1967.  Last school dance before the summer vacation.  Exams over with.  Steamy hot — inside and out.   The dj must have played W.S. o P.  20 times that night.  Who minded?  Least of all — who cared they were singing about sea-sickness!!   Who noticed?


A Shiter Pade of Whale - still love it after all these decades.....
 Stratocaster wrote:

I daresay you are outnumbered by a factor of approximately 101,688 to 1.

I suggest a good detox, a hard shake of the head, and a complete re-evaluation of your value system.

 
 

Lolz... : )

 
 johnjconn wrote:
Dated
Boring
Tired
Weak

Give it a 4
 
I daresay you are outnumbered by a factor of approximately 101,688 to 1.

I suggest a good detox, a hard shake of the head, and a complete re-evaluation of your value system.

 
Brings me back to being an 8 year old boy laying on the floor listening to CKLW on my transistor radio and being mesmerized by this incredible song.  
to me. . .timeless!
Good for the ears and what's between 'em.{#Clap}
 terrapin52 wrote:
I loved it when J.S. Bach did a cover of this Procol Harum tune.
 

You should've seen Bach live! I saw him at the Fillmore in 1734, awesome!
This song and group defines the 60's for me. Along with Janis, Jimmy, Beatles, Animals....

Well, one of them anyway. Still a defining tune in the history of music. 

One of our very favorite songs — and thank you RadioParadise for pairing four of the tirebiter.com/beauty images with this one!


I loved it when J.S. Bach did a cover of this Procol Harum tune.
Easily one of the five greatest songs of all time.  Hell, this could be two of the five greatest songs of all time.  

There's are a couple cool "extra" verses that they have done live, apparently.  Beautiful lyrics all.  
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

If music be the food of love
then laughter is its queen
and likewise if behind is in front
then dirt in truth is clean
My mouth by then like cardboard
seemed to slip straight through my head
So we crash-dived straightway quickly
and attacked the ocean bed

 
 kaybee wrote:
The more I hear this album, the more I gotta get it.
  
cheesemonger wrote:

the miller- as in the Miller's Tale in the Canterbury Tales.  It's the bawdy followup to the Knight's tale of courtly love.  When I read the Canterbury tales in high school, the Miller's Tale was omitted....

 
{#Lol}  Gee, I wonder why.  OK, so I'm having trouble imagining this very serious, dignified sounding song and the Chaucer's flatulence obsessed miller.  All along I've had visions of Keith Reid having some type of Lewis Carroll/ Walrus and the Carpenter type thing going on here.

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

{#Meditate}
Now, about those Vestal Virgins, he begs the question "Tell me why?"
 AndreasL wrote:
I love it, but listen to the version of this song from DORO-German Heavy Metal Singer. This Woman is cool.
 

You must SERIOUSLY be seriously drunk!
DORO?
Classical white german trailor-park trash?
Her version - and the rest of her primitiv-metal -.
should be forbidden for those who know the original!

Doro - paaaah!!!!
As 10 as WSOP is - I recommend to play other songs from
this fantastic album - a clear 10 of it's own!
It was so cool, not too long ago, getting to play the main keyboard solo of this song on a big, ginormous pipe organ in an old church-turned-into-a-house, for my 24 year-old nephew and his friend who had NEVER HEARD the song before......and then subsequently showing them the song on YouTube. They thought it was cool.
I remember more than one sweet young girl melting—figuratively and literally—as I held her and swayed to this tune at the end of the dance.
Timeless...
 HazzeSwede wrote:


 HazzeSwede wrote:
16 21,23...I guess not RPeeps,has rated this # 1. {#Stupid}

 


 bluedot wrote:
Actually, the melody was written by J.S. Bach. Just sayin'...
 
J.S. Bach; is that the guy from Bachman Turner Overdrive?
I love it, but listen to the version of this song from DORO-German Heavy Metal Singer. This Woman is cool.
truely transcendent
 kaybee wrote:
I always thought it was "as the minnow told his tale"
 
Sounds a bit fishy to me, but then fins aren't what they used to be. Thank Cod for that!

 pcicatar wrote:
I'm glad Matt Fisher, Proco's organist, finally won the rights to his fair share of writing credits.  I couldn't imagine not be cited for writing one of the most significant melodies of the 60's, let alone the 20th century. 
 
Actually, the melody was written by J.S. Bach. Just sayin'...

 johnjconn wrote:
Dated
Boring
Tired
Weak

Give it a 4
 
Well, I still love hearing this great, unique song every time I hear it even after all these years and I gave it a 10.

takes you somewhere else.........
I once heard this song performed by the original singer at a bar called the Goat Farm in Novi, MI. I recall he told us that he was about 16 when it was recorded...
 kaybee wrote:
I always thought it was "as the minnow told his tale"
 
I think that would be a better lyric.


10
Sir Paul—in the 1960s before he was knighted—was asked to name his fave group. He replied, ''Procul Harum.''
It's pretty weird.  I keep hearing this, and thinking of it as a dirge for the end of the Seventies.  As it turns out (of course) it's not even the end of the Sixties!
One-hit Wonderful. 
 Stingray wrote:
AGAIN AND AGAIN...

10

 
Sucks that you hate this song so much, Stingray! (Teasing. {#High-five}  )  I love it - yes, it's slow and pondorous, but it's got such resonance and emotion... Oh, I'm not going to try to explain it to people who don't care. Those who care love it. Those who don't love it don't care.

I think I just sprained my brain.

 kaybee wrote:
I always thought it was "as the minnow told his tale"
 
the miller- as in the Miller's Tale in the Canterbury Tales.  It's the bawdy followup to the Knight's tale of courtly love.  When I read the Canterbury tales in high school, the Miller's Tale was omitted....

Dated
Boring
Tired
Weak

Give it a 4
Created RP account just to give this a 10
yep

AGAIN AND AGAIN...

10

 Dick_Gozinia wrote:
I had enough of this chestnut 40 years ago. I hate this song enough that I
a) logged in just to rate it, and
b) changed the channel.

Stop playing this turd, please.
  

Say it again, please,
3 times and quickly,
...what is your first name?

 HazzeSwede wrote:
16 21,I guess not RPeeps,has rated this # 1. {#Stupid}
 


 ortallcowgirl wrote:
I am only 28 and I remember my mom listening to this song when I was a kid.  She made me learn the lyrics!  I have an affinity for this type of music!  Thanks Mom!
 

Sweet comment!
It's a huge classic and will last forever, like Beatles' songs and Beethoven's sonatas. Nothing less than 10!
One of the greatest songs of all time.  The song was a hit before there was a band to tour.
Great classic. Play it, play it, play it.
 Huey wrote:
It's an old song, it's getting tired, but it's stll healthy. The question is, for how long?  Most definitly longer than me, fuck it. 7.
 

Go and roll some cheese to the market...!
7 for this song...?

You are either 16 or 89, I say!
10!
I had enough of this chestnut 40 years ago. I hate this song enough that I
a) logged in just to rate it, and
b) changed the channel.

Stop playing this turd, please.