The Lost Lyrics of Procol Harum’s "A Whiter Shade of Pale"


In 1967, British crew Procol Harum launched one of the crucial few singles to promote 10 million copies international: “A Whiter Colour of Light.” The contributors that recorded the track have been Gary Brooker (vocals and piano), Matthew Fisher (Hammond M-102 organ), bassist David Knights, Ray Royer on guitar and consultation drummer Invoice Eyden (later changed via Bobby Harrison).

Even the gang’s maximum devoted fanatics would possibly not know that Procol Harum had crucial “6th member”: lyricist Keith Reid, whose track identify has confounded fanatics. Reid says “A Whiter Colour of Light” used to be a remark he’d overheard at a celebration; that authentic concept impressed the mysterious lyrics that adopted. The problem for the musicians used to be to ship a tune observe with the similar gravity.

Pianist Gary Brooker got here up with the chord collection that used to be a nod to Bach’s “Air at the G String.” Matthew Fisher’s despair organ trend adopted alongside, then morphed into Bach’s “Sleepers, Wake!” Just like the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” and the Left Banke’s “Stroll Away Renee,” “A Whiter Colour of Light” used to be characterised as “baroque rock” on account of its classical influences.

As advanced because the observe sounds, it used to be recorded are living in two takes at Olympic Studios in London. Brooker has known as the outcome a cheerful coincidence, not likely to be repeated. Manufacturer Denny Cordell was hoping to offer “A Whiter Colour of Light” the flavour of American soul tune; Cordell says the searing vocals and solemn organ of Percy Sledge’s “When a Guy Loves a Girl” have been the catalyst for Procol Harum’s sound.

There has lengthy been confusion in regards to the which means of “A Whiter Colour of Light.” The consensus is that, like maximum songs, it’s a few guy and a girl making an attempt to get in combination. The track’s nautical references give a way that the couple is on board a boat. The confusion is also because of the truth that part of the unique lyrics have been tossed out prior to the track used to be recorded.

When first written, the track had 4 verses. When it got here time to report the observe, the second one and 3rd verses have been dropped, leaving what have been in the beginning the primary and ultimate verses. The track’s which means turns into clearer whilst you come with the lacking verses, that have been carried out are living via the gang. The deserted lyrics, as enigmatic as the ones at the ultimate recording, ascertain that the surroundings is, in reality, the ocean; the singer tells his love, “You will have to be the mermaid / Who took Neptune for a trip.”

Those that in finding Keith Reid’s lyrics arduous to decipher aren’t on my own. Matthew Fisher has mentioned that even he can not perceive Reid’s puzzling lyrics, however it is by no means stricken him as a result of “they sound nice… that is all they’ve to do.”