A Whiter Shade of Pale

A Whiter Shade of Pale

Infobox Single
Name = A Whiter Shade of Pale

Artist = Procol Harum
B-side = "Lime Street Blues"
Released = 12 May 1967
Format = 7"
Recorded = Olympic Studios
Genre = Psychedelic rock Progressive rock
Length = 4:03
Label = Deram Records
Writer = Gary Brooker, Keith Reid, Matthew Fisher
Producer = Denny Cordell
Certification =
Last single =--
This single ="A Whiter Shade of Pale" (1967)
Next single ="Homburg" (1967)
"A Whiter Shade of Pale" is a song by the British band Procol Harum. The single reached number-one in the UK Singles Chart on 8 June 1967 where it stayed for a total of six weeks.

ong profile

With its haunting tonality and Bach flavouring (both provided by Hammond organist Matthew Fisher), vocals by Gary Brooker, and unusual lyrics by Keith Reid, "A Whiter Shade of Pale" reached #1 in several countries all over the world when released in 1967.

In the years since, it has become an enduring classic. In 2004, the United Kingdom performing rights group Phonographic Performance Limited named it the most-played record by British broadcasting of the past 70 years. [cite web | url=http://www.procolharum.com/awsop_ppl_2004.htm | title=Procol Harum Shades Rivals in UK Survey | accessdate=2007-07-29] More than 800 recorded cover versions by other artists are known. [cite web | url=http://www.awsop-versions.com/| title=A Whiter Shade of Pale Versions - Martin's Collection | accessdate=2007-08-08]

The original writing credits were for Brooker and Reid only. On December 20, 2006, Matthew Fisher won 40% of the music's copyright value and future royalties in a court case, but on April 4, 2008 an appeals decision reversed the earlier outcome and returned the rights to Brooker. [ [http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,91248-1311787,00.html Rock Star Brooker Shades Royalty Battle] Sky News, April 4, 2008]

This song has been used in many music and movie soundtrack compilations over the decades.

There have been two versions of "Pale." One is an earlier recorded longer (5:51) alternate take of the song (that version exists in stereo). The most well-known version of the song, the one released as a single, is of shorter duration. However, nearly all released versions of the single version have been in monaural sound as no stereo master had been known to exist. A stereo incarnation of the single version has since become available on the compilation CD "".

Recording and personnel

The song was performed and recorded at Olympic Studios, with Gary Brooker providing the vocals and piano, Matthew Fisher on a Hammond M-102 organ, David Knights on bass, and Ray Royer on guitar. Drums were provided by session drummer Bill Eyden. A few days later, drums were overdubbed by the band's then newly-recruited drummer Bobby Harrison. That version, though, was considered inferior, and one of the original mono recordings was chosen for release.

Producer for the record was Denny Cordell and Keith Grant was the sound engineer. [" [http://books.google.com/books?id=wjwCkOX578MC&pg=PA86&vq=Keith+Grant&dq=Procol+Harum+Beyond+The+Pale&source=gbs_search_s&sig=kS1uRDhP8rAZmC1709xbAmZu1TY Procol Harum Beyond The Pale] " by Claes Johansen. Pages 68 and 86, SAF Publishing, London, 2000.]

Chart performance and acclaim

The single was released on 12 May 1967 (UK, Deram Records). It entered the UK charts on May 25, 1967. In two weeks, it had reached number one, where it stayed for six weeks. All in all, it stayed 15 weeks on the UK chart. A May 1972 re-release on Fly Records stayed in the UK charts for a total of 12 weeks, and reached number 13 as highest. In the US, it reached #5 and sold over 1,000,000 copies.

Chart positions: # 1 (UK), # 1 (Germany) , # 1 (Ireland), # 1 (Australia), # 1 (World), # 3 (Norway VG-lista), # 5 (USA Hot 100)

Over time, "A Whiter Shade of Pale" has earned extensive critical acclaim.
* It was named joint winner (along with Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody") of the Best British Pop Single 1952-1977 at the BRIT Awards, part of Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee.
* "Rolling Stone" magazine placed "A Whiter Shade of Pale" as #57 on its 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list in 2004.
* British TV station Channel 4 also placed the song at #19 in its chart of the 100 greatest number one singles. [cite web | url=http://www.channel4.com/entertainment/tv/microsites/G/greatest/singles/results.html | title=THE 100 GREATEST No.1 SINGLES | accessdate=2006-09-21]

Resemblance to the work of J.S. Bach

The Hammond organ line of "A Whiter Shade of Pale" was inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach's "Sleepers Awake" and "Air on a G String", but contrary to popular belief, the song is not a direct copy or paraphrase of any music by Bach. [cite web | url=http://www.bachfaq.org/whiter.html | title = What Bach Piece is A Whiter Shade of Pale? | accessdate=2006-09-21 | archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20010616151342/www.bachfaq.org/whiter.html | archivedate=2001-06-16]

Authorship lawsuit

In 2005, Procol Harum organist Matthew Fisher filed suit in the Royal Courts of Justice against Gary Brooker and his publisher, claiming that Fisher co-wrote the music for the song. [cite web | url=http://www.procolharum.com/awsop_lawsuit2.htm | title=A Whiter Shade of Pale authorship lawsuit | accessdate=2006-09-21] Fisher won the case on 20 December, 2006 but was awarded a 40% share of the music copyright, rather than the 50% he was seeking and was not granted royalties prior to 2005. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/6196413.stm BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Organist wins Procol Harum battle ] ] Gary Brooker and publisher Onward Music were granted leave to appeal, and a hearing on the matter was had before a panel of three judges during the week of October 1, 2007. The decision, on 4 April 2008, by Lord Justice Mummery, in The Court of Appeal was that even though Fisher had 'contributed the organ theme' and was thus entitled to co-authorship, [ [http://www.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/Music/04/04/uk.procol.ap/index.html Procol Harum singer wins royalties fight] ] , he should receive no royalties as he had taken too long (38 years) to bring his claim to litigation. Full royalty rights were returned to Brooker. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7330182.stm BBC - Procol Harum ruling is overturned] ]

Cover versions

Hundreds of artists have covered the song. [cite web | url=http://www.procolharum.com/phcovers1.htm | title=Cover versions of Procol Harum songs | accessdate=2006-09-21] A few by well known artists:

* Angela Aki, the b-side on her Kiss Me Good-Bye single as 青い影 (Pale Shade).
* Roland Alphonso, "Hop Special" rocksteady
* Michael Bolton, covered the song in his 1999 album ""
* Marc Bonilla, included two versions on his 1993 "American Matador" album, one Instrumental and one with vocals.
* The Box Tops, covered on The Letter/Neon Rainbow LP (November, 1967)
* Sarah Brightman, released an operatic version as a single on "A Whiter Shade of Pale/A Question of Honour" and it featured on her 2000 "La Luna" album.
* Richard Clayderman
* Eric Clapton in a live New Years Eve Performance with Ringo Starr on the CD "Trusted Servants and a Beatle."
* Joe Cocker
* King Curtis, jazz/blues
* Alton Ellis, rocksteady
* Charly García, a Spanish version
* Girl Talk sampled it in his 2008 album "Feed the Animals"
* Gov't Mule, rock arrangement
* Grand Slam, a band formed by Phil Lynott on their live album .
* Sammy Hagar
* HSAS, performed a rock version on the "Through the Fire" album.
* Glenn Hughes
* Engelbert Humperdinck on his 2007 "The Winding Road" album.
* Pat Kelly, reggae version
* David Lanz, with Matthew Fisher on Hammond organ, performed an instrumental version [cite web
title=Beyond the Pale
author=Procol Harum
* Annie Lennox, released as the second single of her album "Medusa", and became a Top 20 hit for her in the UK in 1995. The video for this version was directed by Lennox herself and Joe Dyer.
* R. Stevie Moore, on his 2004 album "Tra La La La Phooey!"
* Mariano Moreno, lounge version, released on "Ultra-Lounge - On The Rocks, part one"
* Willie Nelson & Waylon Jennings, country
* Doro, German heavy metal band, on their album Force Majeure (1989).
* Dan Reeder
* Buddy Richard, a Spanish version, included in the LP "Buddy Richard, en vivo en el Astor"
* Frutos del País, Chilean band, as "Sin Ti"
* Johnny Rivers, pop
* Tommy Sands, (not the American) on "To Shorten the Winter: An Irish Christmas"
* Helge Schneider, funky free jazz
* Percy Sledge, R&B
* Wailing Souls, reggae
* Barrett Strong, Motown Soul 2008 cdbaby.com/BarrettStrong
* Big Jim Sullivan, 1968 RPM Records UK. Recently re-released on the Asian Lounge (vol 2) range from Irma Cafe.
* Bonnie Tyler, on her 1981 Goodbye To The Islands album.
* Zakk Wylde with Black Label Society covered the song in "Hangover Music Volume VI"
* Elliott Yamin, provided as an iTunes bonus track on his 2007 "Elliott Yamin" album
* Justin Hayward with Mike Batt and the London Philharmonic Orchestra
* New York Rock and Roll Ensemble, "classical baroque rock"

References to the song

* Among its many appearances in film are: a version by saxophonist King Curtis in the motion picture "Withnail and I" (it being Richard E. Grant's favourite song), the "Life Lessons" episode of New York Stories, the Alan Parker feature film "The Commitments", where it is briefly analysed without agreement, the hit film "The Big Chill" whose soundtrack was also a bestseller, as the end credit music for Sandra Bullock's "The Net" and the TV miniseries "The 10th Kingdom" and the Italian movie "I Cento Passi" (One Hundred Steps, 2000), by Marco Tullio Giordana.
* It has been rumored that this was John Lennon's favorite song.Fact|date=April 2008
* Comedian Spike Milligan stated that he made a tape loop of the song so that it could run continuously.
* In the book "The Perks of Being a Wallflower", the song is on a mixed tape Charlie makes for Patrick.
* The song can be heard playing over the house PA system just before the Jimi Hendrix Experience takes the stage at the beginning of "Jimi Hendrix Experience - Live at Winterland".
* Mylo Hatzenbuhler spoof, "Whiter Shade of Pail" from album, "To All the Cows I've Milked Before"
* Tony Soprano greets his family in the morning with the chorus in the second episode of "The Sopranos"
* A piece of musical history education software in William Gibson's 1996 novel "Idoru" mentions the song during a discussion of its distinctive musical structure.
* A Japanese near-cover of "A Whiter Shade of Pale" is an important plot element in an episode of the tokusatsu television show "Ultraman Tiga" that focused on a pop singer.
* The song is heavily referenced in Oscar Zeta Acosta's "Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo", the pseudo-autobiography that chronicles the Chicano's personal journey towards self-discovery in the America of the late 1960's.
* The song "I Wish I was a Punk Rocker" by Sandi Thom features the line "...and when God Saved the Queen she turned a whiter shade of pale".
*The song can be heard playing in the background during a party scene in the movie "The Falcon and the Snowman".
* Barrett Strong of Motown Fame sang 'Whiter Shade Of Pale' on his Stronghold II release on www.cdbaby.com/BarrettStrong
*The song can be heard playing in a section of the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas, which highlights events of the Sixties.


External links

* [http://youtube.com/watch?v=ByXvPU-tfJA YouTube - Annie Lennox, "A Whiter Shade of Pale" video]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • A Whiter Shade of Pale — Single par Procol Harum extrait de l’album Procol Harum Face A A Whiter Shade of Pale Face B Lime Street Blues Sortie 12 mai 1967 Enregistrement …   Wikipédia en Français

  • A Whiter Shade of Pale — Исполнитель Procol Harum Альбом Procol Harum Дата выпуска 12 мая 1967 Дата записи Olympic Studios, Лондон …   Википедия

  • A Whiter Shade of Pale — «A Whiter Shade of Pale» de Procol Harum del álbum Procol Harum Lado B Lime Street Blues Publicación 12 de mayo de 1967 Formato Vinilo de 18 cm (45 R.P.M.) Grabación …   Wikipedia Español

  • A Whiter Shade Of Pale — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda «A Whiter Shade of Pale» Sencillo de Procol Harum del álbum Procol Harum Publicación 12 de mayo de 1967 Formato …   Wikipedia Español

  • A Whiter Shade of Pale — ist ein Lied der britischen Gruppe Procol Harum. Es wurde am 12. Mai 1967 veröffentlicht und erreichte Platz 1 der englischen Charts. Es wurde weltweit über 2,5 Millionen Mal verkauft. Das Lied wurde über Deram Records veröffentlicht. Die Melodie …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • A Whiter Shade Of Pale — ist ein mehr als 2,5 Millionen Mal verkaufter Song von Procol Harum aus dem Jahre 1967. Der Text klingt verwirrend und ergibt keinen eindeutigen Sinn.[1] Mit dem eindrücklichen Klang und dem Charakter von Johann Sebastian Bach (von Organist… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • A Whiter Shade Of Pale — est une des chansons les plus connues du groupe britannique Procol Harum. On retrouve cette chanson dans le film danois de Lars von Trier Breaking the Waves, ainsi que dans le film Traque sur internet, Good Morning England ou encore Les Cent Pas… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • A whiter shade of pale — est une des chansons les plus connues du groupe britannique Procol Harum. On retrouve cette chanson dans le film danois de Lars von Trier Breaking the Waves, ainsi que dans le film Traque sur internet, Good Morning England ou encore Les Cent Pas… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • a whiter shade of pale — Meaning Origin Procul Harem song title. This song had rather obscure lyrics which were never explained by the writer. I happened to meet the organist from the group but was disappointed to find that he had no idea what it was about either …   Meaning and origin of phrases

  • Whiter — White White (hw[imac]t), a. [Compar. {Whiter} (hw[imac]t [ e]r); superl. {Whitest}.] [OE. whit, AS. hw[imac]t; akin to OFries. and OS. hw[=i]t, D. wit, G. weiss, OHG. w[=i]z, hw[=i]z, Icel. hv[=i]tr, Sw. hvit, Dan. hvid, Goth. hweits, Lith.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English