Procol Harum

Beyond
the Pale

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500 Greatest Songs of All Time

In America's Rolling Stone magazine, December 2004


It seems either extraordinary or scandalous that a publication of the supposed authority of Rolling Stone should not have reviewed the newest album by an act of Procol Harum's stature. Mind you their reviews of the band's early albums were notorious for bloated over-writing and internal contradictions, and later there were simply spiteful attacks (the sneering and short-sighted EBaF review) so perhaps it's more dignified for Procol to be overlooked in that department.

However Rolling Stone's credibility is further undermined by the fact that their 'complete' Procol Harum listing includes no mention of the band's DVD releases, and by the stupidity of their sparse little gallery of pictures on the Procol page (the three images are not of Procol at all, but of Ringo's All Starr Band!). Their biography of the band consists simply of 'No Bio Available'; they claim the band come from London US; and unbelievably Procol's 'influences' and 'followers' are both empty fields.

So what has Rolling Stone got right? No doubt it's just and proper that they've listed A Whiter Shade of Pale in their top 500 songs of all time: it features at no 57 (no other PH songs in their list, incidentally). However the accompanying blurb parrots out the typical hack's ill-informed outlook on the organ solo ('straight out of Bach (Air on the G String, from the Suite No. 3 in D Major)' not only is this simply incorrect, it flatly contradicts the 'No influences' assessment noted above. RS also claims that AWSoP 'was also the only track recorded by the initial lineup of Procol Harum': though that might be considered to be true, given that Bill Eyden didn't stay in the drum seat after that session, it invalidates the following claim, that the line-up ' started as an R&B band, the Paramounts' ... it's not hard to spot that Brooker was the sole Paramount to play on A Whiter Shade of Pale). The sloppy piece even claims that the Paramounts started in 1963 three years out! Finally Rolling Stone claims that AWSoP 'helped kick-start the classical-rock boomlet that gave the world the Moody Blues' hmm, sounds as though they did have followers then, although RS could have name-checked some band with a bit more blues, a bit more guts, if they were going to salvage some credibility for this measly little article.


Bach influences on AWSoP

A Whiter Shade of Pale


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