Procol Harum: “A Whiter Shade of Pale”

ALBUM: Procol Harum

YEAR: 1967

WRITERS: Gary Brooker, Keith Reid, Matthew Fisher

Peaked at number-five on the Billboard Hot 100, after topping the British charts for six weeks during “The Summer of Love.” It’s one of fewer than 30 singles that have sold more than 10 million copies worldwide.

Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale” has become a rock classic, and not just because of its striking music. Lyricist Keith Reid tells us he was engaged in some muti-dimensional storytelling when he wrote the words. “I know what I was trying to say. I had a story line, the song tells a story. It was originally a much longer story, because originally the song was twice as long as it ended up on record. And also I was trying to paint a picture and communicate a mood. That’s what I was trying to do lyrically. I was trying to tell a story and I was also trying to make people not just hear the story, but feel it and smell it and taste it. And hopefully I did.”

Original Procol Harum keyboardist Matthew Fisher celebrates his 71st birthday today (March 7th).


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