A Whiter Shade of Pale
Perm url with updates: http://xahlee.org/music/a_whiter_shade_of_pale.html
A Whiter Shade of Pale
Xah Lee, 2011-06-13
A Whiter Shade of Pale, one of the great oldie of 1967, has fascinating, enduring lyrics. Read it, and see if you decipher.
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 well'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
I first heard this song sung by Sarah Brightman in about 2001. Here's her rendition:
“A Whiter Shade Of Pale” sung by Sarah Brightman. amazon
The lyrics originally has 4 verses plus a refrain (all shown here). However, usually only the first 2 verse is sung.
Following in the original recording sung by Procol Harum band. Rather silly.
“A Whiter Shade Of Pale - Procol Harum” amazon
The song has been covered by many singers. Here's one by Annie Lennox (of Eurythmics fame).
“Annie Lennox - A Whiter Shade Of Pale” amazon
Here's a great rock rendition by Hagar Schon Aaronson Shrieve (aka HSAS). Possibly the best here.
“A Whiter Shade Of Pale” by HSAS.
What's with the “Miller's tale”? It reminds me a passage from Shakespeare. Titus Andronicus: Act 2. Quote:
DEMETRIUS. Why mak'st thou it so strange? She is a woman, therefore may be woo'd; She is a woman, therefore may be won; She is Lavinia, therefore must be lov'd. What, man! more water glideth by the mill Than wots the miller of; and easy it is Of a cut loaf to steal a shive, we know. Though Bassianus be the Emperor's brother, Better than he have worn Vulcan's badge.