Thanks to Steve Ellis for this very interesting submission … if his band had taken up A Whiter Shade of Pale, would there have been a Procol Harum at all? And … where's that metal acetate now, we wonder? Read more about Steve Ellis at his website.
June 2002. Gary Brooker told BtP that Love Affair would not have had an acetate of AWSoP: 'Conquistador, possibly,' he said. Gary explained that by the time AWSoP was written, he and Keith Reid were committed to recording their songs themselves, so the particular song would not have been touted round. It seems that neither Gary nor Matthew has a copy of that original demo recording of AWSoP, recorded with 'Tubs Drubs' on percussion. Matthew felt that it was probably 'perfectly all right' and opined that Denny Cordell had decided the song should be re-recorded – with Bill Eyden as it turned out – so as to be able to make his own mark on something that possibly didn't need any improving.
During 1966 / 67 Love Affair, or the Soul Survivors as the band was originally called, rehearsed endlessly for gigs. Also new material was supplied by John Cokell and David Wedgbury, who both worked at Decca, for possible single recording and release.
The band, now calling themselves Love Affair, signed to Decca Records and did a cover version of a Rolling Stones track called She Smiled Sweetly [The Stones' track starts somewhat like Quite Rightly So].
It failed to chart and Cokell and Wedgbury, now acting in a management capacity, submitted many songs to the band, one of which was a track by Davy Jones (David Bowie) called Cobbled Streets and Baggy Trousers, also a track entitled A Whiter Shade of Pale by Keith Reid, which was on a metal acetate.
The two numbers were rehearsed but neither song was recorded. As I recall both artists were linked to Deram in some way, and this [acetate submission] being linked to Decca would have been entirely feasible.
Whiter Shade of Pale was just too good to better as it was – superb. Gary Brooker's vocal was brilliant. Additionally Love Affair were soul-orientated and the band preferred Everlasting Love, which turned up in exactly the same way as Whiter Shade of Pale.