Procol Harum

Beyond
the Pale

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'I don't have the vaguest idea what I'm singing about'

Willie Nelson talks to Record Collector November 1998


The following is part of a larger interview Record Collector did with Willie Nelson.

RC
You've cut some unlikely rock songs in your time, and one of the weirdest certainly the least country was Procol Harum's A Whiter Shade of Pale. How did you come to sing that?

WN
I was making an album with Chips Moman, who's really familiar with all different kinds of music, and he suggested I should cut it. So he played me the song, and I thought it had a really beautiful melody. The words were something else, but I said to him, 'OK, I'll do it, but I don't have the vaguest idea what I'm singing about.'


Richard Beck adds: Chips Moman originated here in Memphis. Sometime after the Nelson Album he returned here and eventually produced an album for none other than Ringo Starr. Unfortunately, Ringo was in his alcoholic phase and later sued to keep the album from being released, claiming that he could barely remember recording it. Ringo got cleaned up and shortly thereafter, hit the road touring with Commander Brooker. Kinda neat how all of these little circles link up, Huh?


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