Procol Harum

the Pale 

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Easy done to make a megahit

Fædrelandsvennen (Norway)  28 May 2001

By Svein Harald Moe, translated into English by Jens Anders Ravnaas

Gary Brooker is the man who composed the melody for A Whiter Shade of Pale and then recorded it. On the sofa at the Quality Hotel, close to Sørlandshallen, 34 years later, the 56 year-old is still happy to be interviewed about this.


Gary Brooker (left), front man in Procol Harum, with Matthew Fisher who played Hammond on the record from 1967.


Photo: Svein Harald Moe

Why has this specific song turned into one of the greatest in rock history?

It's a mystery. A mystery. I cannot give any explanation – and if I could, it would not be a mystery. But it really caught on when it came out in 1967, maybe because it was different from the other tunes that were most popular at that time, maybe because it still is somewhat different, I don't know. Let me put it like this: I am just as surprised as everyone else.

Was there much work behind it?

No. When I started to get the melody in my head, it was pretty much ready within five minutes or so. And I remember the recording session also was very quick. Later on it has pleased me very much that new generations seems to like it. We have received nice responses from people in their early 20s. And we see who xcomes to our concerts, it's both people of my age and downwards to pretty young.  I have to admit that the latter are absolutely fewer though.

Who were your musical idols in your youth?

I preferred American music; I didn't quite as much enjoy the English musicians. Jerry Lee Lewis and Ray Charles were the biggest for me – and Elvis of course. He is still The King, of course. Now I am talking about me growing up  in the 50s, and these musicians inspired many people who later became big in the music business. By the way, I recently toured with Bill Wyman, ex-Rolling Stones; he is a little older than me. He was also inspired by musicians from the 40s, but I think my limit expires at that point.

Can you name a song from today's hitlists that has the qualities needed to be played after 34 years?




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