A Whiter Shade of Pale – Procol Harum (1967)

Procol Harum - creadores de A Whiter Shade of Pale

A Whiter Shade of Pale (Con su blanca palidez) de Procol Harum, una de las canciones más exitosas de todos los tiempos, nace en 1967.

  • Presentamos varios vídeos y la letra de la canción.

Una de mis canciones preferidas y un clásico de la historia del pop rock, Con su blanca palidez se escuchó por primer a vez en Mayo de 1967 en el Speakeasy Club de Londres. Ahora bien ¿Cómo se creo? ¿De donde sale Procol Harum? ¿Que significa?

The Paramounts, Keith Reid y Gary Brooker.

Tras la separación de su grupo The Paramounts en Septiembre de 1966, Gary Brooker (compositor, pianista y cantante) decidió dedicarse a componer canciones. Esto lo llevó a buscar una sociedad con un letrista y así conoció a Keith Reid gracias a su manager el empresario Guy Stevens quién se lo presentó ese mismo año.

Se pusieron a trabajar juntos y para la primavera de 1967 ya habían creado un grupo considerable de canciones, por lo que decidieron que era el momento de formar de nuevo un grupo para que las interpretara.

The Pinewoods

Para ello formaron un grupo al que llamaron The Pinewoods integrado por Gary Broker (pianista, voz), Matthew Fisher (órgano), Ray Royer (guitarra), Dave Knights (bajo) y Bobby Harrison(batería).

A Whiter Shade of Pale

La primera canción que montaron y grabaron, producida por Denny Cordell llevaba el título de A Whiter Shade of Pale (Con su blanca palidez).

Este tema tenía la letra de un poema surrealista escrito por Keith Reid y música de Gary Brooker que se inspiró en una pieza clásica de Johann Sebastian Bach Aria en Sol Mayor de la Suite Nº 3 en Re Mayor y cuyo vídeo pueden ver y escuchar más abajo.

Procol Harum.

Antes de que esta canción conociera la luz pública el grupo cambió su nombre y The Pinewoods pasó a llamarse Procol Harum. Con respecto al nombre existe cierto misterio y lo que se ha dicho es que era el nombre de un gato siamés que a la final no supimos a quién pertenecía.

Por una parte se dijo que era de Guy Stevens, el manager de la banda, o de algún conocido de este, pero no está claro. Se supone que es una expresión en latín, que significa “más allá de aquellas cosas” aunque al parecer debería escribirse como “Procul Harun” y pronunciarse como “Procul His”. En fin, así se quedó.

Los números: un éxito impresionante

A Whiter Shade of Pale (Con su Blanca Palidez) salió al mercado el 12 de Mayo de 1967 y el 8 de Junio alcanzó el primer lugar en las carteleras británicas y allí permaneció durante seis semanas seguidas.

Entró en las diez mejores de Billboard en la semana del 15 de Julio (posición 10), alcanzó la posición 5 dos semanas más tarde y se mantuvo entre las 10 primeras durante seis semanas. Solamente en los EE UU vendió 1 millón de copias y 6 millones en todo el mundo.

Se considera la canción más tocada en los últimos 75 años en lugares públicos del Reino Unido (2009). En el 2004 fue elegida como la canción que más se había difundido por radio en los últimos 70 años (Reino Unido). Aparece en el lugar 57 en la lista de las 500 mejores canciones de todos los tiempos de la revista Rolling Stone (2004).

Además se calcula que puede tener unas 900 versiones. Es decir, todo un clásico.

Vídeos de A Whiter Shade of Pale (Con su Blanca Palidez)

En primer lugar vamos a poner dos vídeos con la versión original de 1967. El primero a color y el segundo en blanco y negro. Son los más difundidos en YouTube.

Video del Aria en Sol Mayor de Bach

Este es un video del Aria en Sol Mayor de Johann Sebastian Bach en la que se inspiró Gary Brooker para la melodía de A Whiter Shade of Pale que también tomó prestados ciertos elementos de When a Man Loves a Woman. Escuchen y verán el parecido.

Letra de A Whiter Shade of Pale

Ponemos aquí la letra original en inglés en la que se interpretaron dos estrofas de las cuatro que escribió Keith Reid para esta canción y que han sido interpretadas en algunas ocasiones en conciertos en vivo.

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
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 would not let her be

One of sixteen vestal virgins
who were leaving for the coast
and although my eyes were open
they might have just as well’ve been closed

Procol Harum sigue activo.

El grupo que se había separado en 1977 debido a su declive y pérdida de popularidad, está activo hoy en día y andan de gira por los Estados Unidos y Cánada con muchísimo éxito. Vamos a ver si se deciden y amplian su gira hacia Europa y América Latina.

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  44. Información Bitacoras.com…

    Valora en Bitacoras.com: A Whiter Shade of Pale (Con su blanca palidez) de Procol Harum, una de las canciones más exitosas de todos los tiempos, nace en 1967. Presentamos varios vídeos y la letra de la canción. Una de mis canciones preferidas y un cl…..

    • hugo latorre says:

      soy coleccionista del tema, tengo muchas ediciones de distintos paises de Whiter en 7 pug y en lps
      trabajé en uruguay en el sello london que lo editó en “sencillo” casi bootleg (pues regal zonohponne pertenecia a la emi en ese entonces y no a nuestro sello)
      hoy es una pieza inhallable (flip side Lime Street Blues)
      luego se editó por deram(deram 123)como en casi todo el mundo pero bajo sello london(subsidiario de Decca)es una rareza
      Tambien tengo y puedo enviarte scanneado una biografia de la deram oficial del grupo y de la epoca (1967)una rareza que pongo a tu disposicion
      gracias por hacerme recordar viejos tiempos.trabajé en sello london de 1965 a 1972,yot enia 15 años…ahora tengo 60 “tiernas primaveras”

      HUGO lATORRE

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