Tuesday 8 June 2021

procol harum

Reaching number one on the UK charts on this day in 1967 a little under a month after its release, this achievement of A Whiter Shade of Pale, remaining at the top for weeks, is considered the beginning of the Summer of Love in Britain, the Chaucerian prosody and Baroque accompaniment (Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Air on the G string”) speaking to an up-and-coming but disaffected generation. Subsequently this anthem has become the single most publicly played song in UK history with the single featured in the soundtracks The Big Chill, Breaking the Waves and Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s documentary The Vietnam War. Over nine hundred cover versions have been performed by other artists over the years.  Though according to one anecdote the band is called after the rather sophisticatedly-named Burmese cat named Procul Harun—Arabic for warrior lion, there is no authoritative source and other suggesting it being bad Latin for “beyond these things,” whereas properly it would be procul hฤซs.