Henry Scott-Irvine: Procol Harum - The Ghosts Of A Whiter Shade Of Pale by Henry Scott-IrvineFormed in the 1960s, progressive rock band Procol Harum are best known for their multimillion-selling single A Whiter Shade of Pale which is the most played record by a British artist of the last 70 years.Procol Harums extraordinary career now spans almost 50 years. This major biography traces their roots back to 1964 when they were an R&B covers band called The Paramounts whom The Rolling Stones cited as their favourite British group at the time. With its song writing partnership of Keith Reid and Gary Brooker, the new band would soon become associated with a particularly soulful brand of progressive rock and enjoy a massive international hit with ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ in the summer of 1967. A succession of Billboard Top 100 albums followed but Procol Harum’s future would also be marked by a 14-year retirement, a successful re-formation and one of the costliest and most bitterly fought cases in British legal history. With specially written material by Martin Scorsese, Sir Alan Parker and author Sebastian Faulks, the book’s stellar list of interviewees includes the band members themselves, producer Chris Thomas, Cream’s Pete Brown and Led Zeppelins Jimmy Page. Their insights illuminate what must surely be the gold standard biography of a unique and highly influential band.
A Whiter Shade of Pale
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With its 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 number 1 in many countries when released in - We have not troubled to add [ sic ] to this article. Ok, I can't let this one go by.
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This may be the greatest - and most useful - piece of clarification since the cryptographers of Bletchley Park broke the Nazi Enigma code during the Second World War. For although the song, sung by the group Procol Harum, was the biggest hit of the 'Summer of Love' in , and is indelibly imprinted on the memory of a generation, its lyrics have remained an impenetrable puzzle: thousands know the mysterious storyline by heart without the faintest idea of what it means. Such enigmas, however, can all now be explained, according to Mike Butler, a Manchester- based music writer, who says he has teased out the song's meaning through conversations with its authors, lyricist Keith Reid and singer Gary Brooker, and through the eventual discovery of a final climactic verse which has never been sung, but which is revealed in today's Sunday Review. Despite the song's mournful elegance it is, says Mr Butler, the account of a drunken seduction. They show, Mr Butler says, that 'the drunken seduction is consummated, and the sea metaphor reaches its apotheosis in the oblivion and forgetfulness of sex'. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. Want to discuss real-world problems, be involved in the most engaging discussions and hear from the journalists?