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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
And 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 they would not let her be
One of sixteen vestal virgins
Who were leaving for the coast
And although my eyes were open wide
They might have just as well been closed

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, "I'm here on a shore leave,"
Though we were miles at sea.
I pointed out this detail
And forced her to agree,
Saying, "You must be the mermaid
Who took King Neptune for a ride."
And she smiled at me so sweetly
That my anger straightway died.

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

If music be the food of love
Then laughter is it's 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

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



Lyrics taken from http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/p/procol_harum/a_whiter_shade_of_pale.html

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  • j
    +5
    Julius CentikApr 4, 2013 at 3:17 pm
    It can only be about commotion, he and this girl are having a fight in some tavern getting drunk or whatever and this guy Miller starts to tell of story of young love and about the tragedy of it. After she listens to the story, her face turns pale, anyway they reconcile until death set them apart, the vestal virgins - she is one of the rare few who are hard to meet; also I get this very late 18th, early 19th century feeling about this song; what's really weird is that it's not even sad:-(.
  • U
    0
    UnregisteredJan 29, 2012 at 5:12 am
    Ah so sad yet again children that didn't go through this age believe it was a covert song about drugs but much more likely and less talked about was illegitimate babies. To me this song is about a pregnancy to another man and the dilemma of love versus society with the truth getting conststantly told by the mirror as time goes on. Oh and rubbed in by the virgins which she said she was hence the whiter shade of pale. He loves her thoigh so his eyes might well have been closed but someone always brings it up as it always gets later where the truth is plain to see. Logically if this song was about drugs they would have admitted it by now, his fiancee have another guys kid no way!
  • m
    0
    MrKiteJun 15, 2008 at 11:06 pm
    Just like Dylan's Desolation Row the meaning is the juxterpositioning of images in our minds that have no connection to a literal meaning. It's for the enjoyment of the lyrics that areas unique and interesting as the best poetry. Poetry is often the same way. Interesting words and they're sounds. Multiple meanings and images with or without rythyms. The music at this period was psychadelic and the surroundings in the discoteques usually complimented the imagery of the lyics. The musicians and the fans dressed in black light or bright colors with Mod hippie styles of British invasion. To me the art and music of that time can be immitated but not repeated. The mind stretching lyrics that many heard while on acid or other intense drugs (like peyote and mesculine not meth, crack or angel dust) before it became passe and denigrated because of its association to the rock stars deaths like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison. It was the best of times and the worst of times. From the Viet Nam war, civil rights violence to flowers, peace. All You Need Is Love, make that free love, Haight Ashbury, and Woodstock and finally to Altamont, and the Manson family. What had been a feeling of positive expansion of our consciousness turned into disenchantment and loss of the magical fantasy most young people were exploring. A Whiter Shade of Pale is from the height of that experience. You had to live through it to appreciate it. Hopefully there more great times ahead and not just high gas prices and global warming. Technology will either save us or kill us. Many hard to figure songs will be written along the way. Don't cheat yourself from enjoying them just because they aren't to be taken literally. For years I kepy trying to figure out Desolatoin Row. It and A Whiter Shade of Pale are the Finnagan's Wakes of music lyrics. Peace.

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