Rus Articles Journal

How PROCOL HARUM “invented“ an art - fate? History of the song “A Whiter Shade Of Pale“

the Second half of 1960 - x was marked by such violent splash so-called fate - music that the remained decades happened to develop and improve finds of that time only. “So-called“ I used a turn with an ulterior motive because at that time fate - the matrix turned out so flexible that began to include practically all genres - folk, the jazz, a country, vanguard, sound poetry. Keen on freshness, power and new tools fate - N - a beater, came young people with brilliant education to it - intellectual and erudite.

The pianist Gary Bruker (Gary Brooker) and the free poet Keith Read (Keith Reid) who in 1967 tried “to stir up“ the next musical project under the mysterious name PROCOL HARUM were such people. Know our intellectuals Latin, the group would be called absolutely in a different way - PROCUL HARUN (something it seems “behind these things“, “an essence of things“, “far from everything“). But not the “Dictionary of Popular Expressions“, and a name was a source of the bewitching phrase... the thoroughbred cat of one of familiar musicians who is written down aurally and reproduced by the principle of “chinese whispers“.

The project was “crude“, all stayed in doubts and friction, and, probably, the group would break up, do not make musicians trial record of one composition. Its name was not less mysterious, than the name of group - namely “A Whiter Shade Of Pale“ that can be translated as “A white shadow pale“, or “Shadows white are more pale“, or, in other words “Is more pale pale“.

The composition was written down, as they say, “with summer“, and the producer to probe the soil, sent record to popular Pirate radio station Radio London. The effect was unexpected - radio and Deram record company were just filled up with letters and exhausted with calls with questions: and where it is, actually, possible to get a disk of group how to get on its concert etc. Nobody guessed that the group yet never addressed public and in general stays in a disintegration stage.

It was worth blowing softly in air success as PROCOL HARUM found new forces. The group updates structure, Deram Records fast cut in May, 1967 a single with “A Whiter Shade Of Pale“, and on June 4 PROCOL HARUM give the first concert. Farther it is more - already on June 8 the single reaches the first place in the British charts, having pushed off Beatles “All You Need Is Love“, and sticks to 6 weeks there. It was one of the most impressive and successful debuts in the history of bottoms - music. In the USA the single reaches 5 - go the place, and its general circulation makes about 6 million copies.

John Lennon just went mad on this song, recorded it several times in a row with one cartridge and constantly listened on long trips. Sometimes did not even go out of the car, before without having listened “to Whiter Shade...“ still couple of times.

Such success took musicians of PROCOL HARUM just unawares.

Mathew Fischer (organist of PROCOL HARUM): “Actually nobody knows

why “Whiter Shade...“ enjoyed such popularity. At the time of record some special magic was felt, and if then the tape recorder broke or the film came to an end, I do not think that we could write down the same anew. Yes, it was the magic - now when all perfect, polish and pass via the meat grinder, it meets seldom. In “Whiter Shade“ there are notes which I should not have played at all. Now I by all means would ask to rewrite that fragment, and then... Likely, it was an integral part of a whole“.

Delights poured also from the critics trying to understand in what a charm of this composition. The Rolling Stone magazine wrote that PROCOL HARUM was succeeded “to connect for the first time energy and mood American a rhythm - N - the blues to the sound measurements of the European romantic traditions which are dying away in luxury“. And it is valid, the fine spirit of classical European music soared already in the introductory organ introduction of Fischer. Experts on classics right there found in it sending to the well-known suite No. 3 re - I. S. Bach`s major. Sounded really very probably though musicians said more than once that Bach emerged subconsciously and in general their style is based on music a soul.

Gary Bruker:

of “A Whiter Shade of Pale“ was not Bach`s music, it was cast by Bach`s motives. And, naturally, with body when the most part was played by Fischer on the organ. The idea was in order that it sounded as Bach`s music, but always it seemed to me that Bach`s music always very well coincided with music for fate, it is a lot of melodies which are cast by it, in fate - music. Unambiguously it is not taken from Bach“.

Anyway, critics agreed that this song - probably the first successful and successful crossing of fate with the academic music. All composition looked transparent, balanced, harmonious against expressional bit other fate - music. Percussions faded into the background, but were involved the whole two keyboard players - the pianist Bruker and the organist Fischer. For those times it was extremely extraordinary.

Also the fact that in group as the full-fledged participant, nearly for the first time in the history, the poet - the poet appeared was extraordinary free from playing music and execution. The poet Keith Read tried wonderfully well. The text of “A Whiter Shade of Pale“ was so crowded abstract and absurd images that very few people from British in general understood what he there is a speech about. The song was treated and as narcotic vision, and as the image of sexual intercourse during voyage after strong binge... Keith Read also did not try to explain value of the text, recognizing that on an early time he was fond of “images for the sake of images“.

Keith Read: “Should not write

the song for the sake of the song. Whether is at me what to tell? Whether costs? In other words, all this “We skipped the light Fandango...“ forever remained in the past“.

Authentically knows that the phrase which gave the name to a song, Keith heard at one of parties when somebody addressed the girlfriend: “You`ve turned a whiter shade of pale“ (“You became more pale pale“). After success of a song it is expression became one of popular turns of English.

By the way, initially in the text was 4 couplets, but on record we hear only two. I am afraid that Russian translations “darken“ already “dark“ sense even more. But for someone lines from not less mysterious song of the PICNIC group “A little Fire“ will clear up: “... And the burning-down sound already we will hardly distinguish, / is more pale pale and. But you be not silent...“.

We danced a fandango *

the Wheel having passed across the deck

U me a little the head

was begun to whirl But the crowd asked still

Ya felt as sick seasickness

But crowd still

the Room shouted hooted heavier than

As the ceiling departured

When we asked still binges

I the waiter brought a tray

A later of

When the miller told the story

Her face first just illusive

She Became more pale than pale

told that nothing terrible

I the truth is easy to recognize

But I reflected, playing cards,

That, probably, would not like that it was

of One of sixteen vestals, **

Aspiring to the coast,

I though my eyes open

They could be and are closed by

A later of

When the miller told the story

Her face first just illusive

Became more white than white

* - the Fandango - the Spanish dance, a kind of a flamenco.

** - Vestals - the priestess goddess Vesta in Ancient Rome. Gave a chastity ceremony therefore often “vestal“ use as a synonym of the word “virgin“.

That complexity and refinement that fascinated masses in the first single PROCOL HARUM, subsequently from group and pushed away them. The first full-fledged album was accompanied still by success (funny that on the British release there was no hit “A Whiter Shade...“), but gradually the circle of admirers was narrowed. Primogenitors an art - fate (or progressiv - fate) - the style combining fate - music with the big, irregular and polyphonical shapes characteristic of classics - died away together with it. The art - fate became too far from the people, and the punk - a wave swept simply away them from a regal pedestal. Then only the strongest survived, vigorous and flexible an art - rockers - PINK FLOYD, JETHRO TULL, QUEEN...

But these peripetias did not threaten the song. Not only reprintings, but also covers on “A Whiter Shade were perfectly bought up...“ (among which it is possible to note Joe Cocker`s versions, Sara Brightman and, of course, Annie Lennox). In 1977 the song together with “The Bohemian rhapsody“ of QUEEN divided the first place in the list of “the best British singles for 1952 - 77“. And in 2009 BBC published a rating of the compositions most often sounding in public places. It appeared, in 20 years nothing changed - won first place “More faintly Pale“, and the second - same “Rhapsody“.

Gary Bruker:

“In that album we gave to the world something that terribly was not enough for it. Likely, it was something like inspiration. Who knows, maybe, it was providential to us?“

However, once history of a song saddened scandal. In 2005. the organist Mathew Fischer accused Bruker that that never specified him by the coauthor “A Whiter Shade...“, though its organ introduction brought a considerable contribution in success of composition. If this is so, then statement rather fair, though strange overdue. Organ loss - it is valid, that “highlight“ what allows to learn the song “from three notes“. However Bruker had arguments.

Gary Bruker: “We with Keith wrote to

“A Whiter Shade...“ still before Mathew came to group. I am shocked and discouraged by the fact that Mathew with whom we perfectly worked and who left group more than forty years ago, one fine day began to claim that his role in “A Whiter Shade...“ the role of the musician was something big, than. And just now he declares that he applies for authorship of this composition“.

of the Lawsuit in court two years lasted, and Fischer everything is carried the case, having received 40% of author`s assignments. It is a pity old times Bach did not live...