A Whiter Shade Of Pale



Procol Harum

We skipped the light fandango
Turned cartwheels 'cross the floor
I was feeling kinda 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, '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 have just as we've been closed
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

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Comments (95): View More Comments and Get the Songfacts
On June 18th 1967, "A Whiter Shade of Pale" by Procol Harum entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #80; and on July 23rd it peaked at #5 (for 2 weeks) and spent 12 weeks on the Top 100 (and for 7 of those 12 weeks it was on the Top 10)...
And on June 10th it reached #1 (for 5 weeks) on the United Kingdom Singles chart...
The English quintet had two other Top 100 records; "Homburg" (peaked at #34 in 1967) and "Conquistador" (reached #16 in 1972)...
R.I.P. Barrie Wilson (drummer, 1947 - 1990) and lead singer Gary Brooker celebrated his 69th birthday twenty days ago on May 29th, 2014.
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
In 2067, when this song has its 100th anniversary, I'll be 113 years old and it will still be one of my alltime favorites.
- Paul, Eindhoven, Netherlands
This was a big hit in 1967 during the heyday of psychedelia in the music world. I was in college at the time & loved this beautiful song. At the time, many of my friends were puzzled over the lyrics and the meanings of this song. And the word was out that John Lennon loved the song too. This song seemed to be played on the jukebox a lot at our favorite off-campus college pub. Then, people contemplated those lyrics. I read the composer's explanations in interviews, but it's so obtuse that I am still adrift.
- Raunchy, Tulsa, OK
The Procol Harum version of Whiter Shade of Pale is still unsurpassed, but did you ever hear the Hollies cover?
- Paul, Eindhoven, Netherlands
Listening to Glenn Hughes version of this song and loving it. In it's original and various interpretations it has a dreamy-trippy kind of fairy tale quality.
- eb, FL Keys, FL
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