A Whiter Shade Of Pale – Procol Harum

THIS DAY IN MUSIC………………………………………..on June 10th of 1967 after selling over 356,000 copies in the first three weeks after its release, “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” by Procol Harum tops the UK chart. The song would peak at #5 in the US near the end of July. In 2004, the United Kingdom performing rights group Phonographic Performance Limited recognized it as the most-played record by British broadcasting of the past 70 years. The same year, Rolling Stone placed “A Whiter Shade of Pale” at #57 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Procol Harum’s lyricist Keith Reid wrote the words to this song. Reid formed Procol Harum in 1967 with Gary Brooker, becoming an official member even though he didn’t sing or play any instruments. “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” was one of about 15 songs that he wrote for their first album. Procol Harum had a few more modest hits, including “Homburg” and “Conquistador,” but they attracted a devoted following, releasing 10 albums before breaking up in 1977 (they would re-form in 1991). The band was always more concerned with the quality and integrity of their music than with serving the singles market, which them unlikely candidates for one of the most successful singles of all time.This was the first song Procol Harum recorded.  After it became a hit, they fired their original drummer and guitarist, replacing them with Barry Wilson and Robin Trower – more experienced musicians who could handle the subsequent touring. This was one of the biggest hits of the “Summer Of Love” (1967). John Lennon was a big fan of the song. Denny Cordell produced this track. He became Joe Cocker’s manager and in the ’70s started an independent record label called Shelter Records, whose acts included Leon Russell, J.J. Cale and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. This song also won a Brit award for Best British Pop Single 1952-1977. It was the joint winner along with Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”