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Procol Harum: “A Whiter Shade of Pale” and “Conquistador”

Taking a rock song from the 1960s and, 30 or so years later, throwing the Danish National Concert Orchestra behind it may seem a bit much. The song would  become bloated, self reverential and a bit ridiculous. But if the song is A Whiter Shade of Pale, it all comes off well. The band is in great form and the [pullquote]ddddd[/pullquote]video itself is excellent. Moreover, the song really sounds classical at the beginning. It’s not one of those hokey attempts — a classical orchestra playing Smoke on the Water. 

Wikipedia said that a television special was recorded in 2006 at the Ledreborg Castle in Denmark. The name of the orchestra in that citation and at YouTube are slightly different, but this most likely is from that performance.

Procol Harum was a great band whose biggest song far outshone all its others. Here is the beginning of Wikipedia’s profile.

Procol Harum are a British rock band. Formed in 1967, they contributed to the development of progressive rock, and by extension, symphonic rock. Their best-known recording is their 1967 single “A Whiter Shade of Pale”.[1] Although noted for its baroque and classical influence, Procol Harum’s music also embraces the blues, R&B and soul. In October 2012, the band were nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but were unsuccessful on this occasion.[2] (Continue Reading…)

The piece points out that Procol Harum was rejected in a bid to get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year. I think lesser bands are in. Here is a fan site that has a lot of interest material but seems to not have been updated. Below is Conquistador. 

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Also of Interest

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.