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Procul Harum - A Whiter Shade of Pale - Lyrics Meaning

A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procul Harum released in 1967 has become a pop standard. The song was written by band members Keith Reid and Gray Brooker, whose haunting melancholy vocals went a long way to making the song a number one hit in the UK as well as all over Europe.

The group made no secret that the tune was based on a song by classical composer, by Johann Sebastian Bach, known as Sleepers Awake

As well as Brooker's singing voice, A Whiter Shade of Pale is also remarkable for the excellent Hammond organ solos running through the song's arrangement, provided by band member, Matthew Fisher.

In the years since its release, A Whiter Shade of Pale has become a classic, named as the most-played UK record of the past 70 years.

As was the mood of the times, the song's lyrics have no clear message, instead creating an atmosphere of a smoke filled room, and someone describing a psychedelic (possibly drug induced) experience.

The key lines which run through the song are: "and so it was that later, as the miller told his tale, that her face, first ghostly, turned a whiter shade of pale."