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Procol Harum

A Whiter Shade Of Pale lyrics

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Procol Harum – A Whiter Shade Of Pale lyrics

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

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  • u
    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!
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  • u
    I was a teenager in the '60s and as my son told me recently, most of the songs of your day, mom, sound as though they were written by musicians who were in a perpetual mist of drugs and alcohol. The lyrics of " A Whiter Shade of Pale" helped me to disappear into a fantasy world, and escape for a few minutes into a world of contradictions, hope and despair, love and war, prejudice and defiance. When I hear this song today, I feel a sense of nostalgia for a time when young people joined the Peace Corps, lived with nature, marched for civil rights, loved hard and felt the need to give back to the world.
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  • e
    Eline Kooij
    It was written to sound as a Dali painting looks. So the colors you see, the melting clocks, the feeling you would get from the painting is similar to the feeling you get from listening to the song. I don't know about you, but I get goosebumps every time I listen to the song, so I'dd say mission definitely accomplished!
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  • u
    I had always assumed like Richard Wilson that it clearly borrowed from The Miller's Tale (sorta overt references, dontcha think?). And that it also clearly borrowed from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. In that tale, is a pale woman.

    I also felt the meaning went beyond that and the overall theme could be an analogy of the sinking of the of some great ship (real or from literature) to the image people had about the governments/religious orgs in the '60s (and often still do)
    The song seemed to describe the way that people ignore things that should be obvious clues that something is amiss. But they just keep on playing the game. Until they sink and hit the bottom of the ocean floor.

    No matter what, there is a lot of Neptune and the sea being referenced, so someone with a lot of knowledge of literature that deals with the sea would have an advantage here.
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  • r
    Robert Arthur Loades
    Although it's been said the song is about a drunken seduction, with the haunting melody which owes much to J.S. Bach's Air on a G string, many people have always found many different meanings in this song. Perhaps there are many subliminal messages. The Miller first tell his tail (or at least the first we know of it), in Chaucer's, Canterbury Tails 1386. There are many other half remembered images, which make up this song into a Surreal work of art that plays on your mind like a Salvador Dali painting.
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