Procol Harum – “A Whiter Shade of Pale” LIVE in Denmark (2006)
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In 2006, Procol Harum took to the stage at Ledreborg Castle in Denmark for a truly special couple of shows, culminating in a performance of their most famous song which has continued to stun fans 15 years later.
The English rock band were joined by the Danish National Concert Orchestra and Choir for the show, which was later released on DVD.
On top form as ever, the show featured a performance of 1967’s ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’, which has been seen by over 54 million people on YouTube.
Always a fantastic song to hear, this version is particularly special due to the orchestral backing, as well as singer Gary Brooker’s vocals, which if anything sound even better than they did at the height of their fame in the 1960s.
‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ was Procol Harum’s biggest hit, and is one of the few songs to have sold over 10 million records worldwide.
Keith Reid got the song’s title at a party. He overheard someone at the party saying to a woman, “You’ve turned a whiter shade of pale”, and the phrase stuck in his mind.
Reid later told Uncut magazine: “I was trying to conjure a mood as much as tell a straightforward, girl-leaves-boy story. With the ceiling flying away and room humming harder, I wanted to paint an image of a scene. I wasn’t trying to be mysterious with those images, I was trying to be evocative.
“I suppose it seems like a decadent scene I’m describing. But I was too young to have experienced any decadence, then. I might have been smoking when I conceived it, but not when I wrote. It was influenced by books, not drugs.”
Procol Harum are still performing, and released their 12th album Novum in 2017.
The band’s 13th album, Novum, was released on 21 April 2017 and the band played 36 dates in the UK and Europe to promote it. However, the most significant concert of the year came in March when the band played with an orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall in London. Whilst leaving the stage at the end of the first half, Gary Brooker fell and was seriously hurt.
He reappeared for the second half with his head bandaged and nursing “a broken hand”. In 2018 the band again toured in Europe, including an orchestral show at the London Palladium on 9 October. They commenced 2019 with a Caribbean cruise hosted by Justin Hayward, with many well-known rock acts. A US tour was due to follow.
In 2018, the band was honoured by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when “A Whiter Shade of Pale” was inducted into the brand-new Singles category.
Procol Harum – A Whiter Shade of Pale LIVE (2006) at the Ledreborg Castle in Denmark
- Gary Brooker – lead vocals, piano (1967–1977, 1991–present)
- Geoff Whitehorn – guitar, backing vocals (1991–present)
- Josh Phillips – organ, synthesisers (1993, 2004–present)
- Matt Pegg – bass, backing vocals (1993–present)
- Geoff Dunn – drums (2006–present)
Main article: Procol Harum discography Studio albums
- Procol Harum (1967)
- Shine on Brightly (1968)
- A Salty Dog (1969)
- Home (1970)
- Broken Barricades (1971)
- Grand Hotel (1973)
- Exotic Birds and Fruit (1974)
- Procol’s Ninth (1975)
- Something Magic (1977)
- The Prodigal Stranger (1991)
- The Well’s on Fire (2003)
- Novum (2017)
- Libertango (Piano Solo) – Astor Piazzola
- Out of Africa – music by John Barry (piano solo)
- Oblivion (Astor Piazzolla) by Nadja Kossinskaja, guitar (with sheet music)
- Milonga del Angel by Astor Piazzolla (arr. piano solo)
- Oblivion (A. Piazzolla) Two pianos – pianists Argerich and Hubert
- Bill Evans, american jazz pianist and composer (1929-1980)