“A Whiter Shade Of Pale”

Didja know that Procol Harum’s haunting classic “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” has been recorded by at least 900 other artists and is one of only 30 single records that have sold over 10 million units. Thr song was originally written by band members Gary Brooker and Keith Reid. Years later the bands keyboard player Mathew Fisher sued the band for songwriter credit and one third of the royalties, claiming that his organ piece that opens the song and intro’s each verse is what and how listeners relate to the song ( you remember that organ solo, RIGHT? ) He won his case in the highest court in the U.K. And was awarded what many think is more than his fair share or this 1967 classic.

Meanwhile, the actual title comes from Keith Reid who claimed that he over heard, at a party, someone say to a young girl “Whoa, your face is a whiter shade of pale” Lastly, because you asked, the bands name Procol Harum, comes from an exotic breed of Asian cats!…..You read it here…

Here’s the classic organ solo and the rest of that incredible record…


P.S. What do you think? Does Matthew Fisher deserve One Third of this great song for his organ part?









  1. Hey Doranney! Glad to see that you left a comment regarding the collaboration of “A Whiter Shade Of Pale”, which just happens to be my favorite recording of all time with it’s heavenly, ethereal sound and lyrically poetic ruminations. When I think about the song, I no doubt am reminded of the majestically beautiful organ solos of Mathew Fisher that intertwine with the verses throughout the song. Indeed, his playing is such an integral component to the song at large but it bears remembering that he owes a huge musical debt to the genius of Johann Sebastian Bach. There are references to Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3 BMV 1068, Air on the G-String composition that Fischer borrows from with it’s descending chord progression to it’s sustained and melodic turns. So maybe Johann should get a slice of the royalties as well? I always thought “A Whiter Shade…” was a brilliant mix of Bach’s obvious influence and the soulful vocal strains of Percy Sledge’s “When A Man Loves A Woman”. Not a bad mix in my book. And, by the way, a big shout out to my friend Rick Shoemaker. Hope you’re well, love your website and will come back often. Rock on, Doranney!

    • Hey Tony!
      So great to see you here and I love your comment / analysis of A Whiter Shade of Pale” “Quite astute dear boy!
      Please don’t be a stranger
      Big Thanx,

  2. Oh man, this song takes me away to a higher plane every time I hear it. Since I’ve never heard it differently, try as I might, I can’t imagine it without the organ. That’s a very tough question though. The song is amazing on every level – one of the best ever, I think. Ultimately, I believe it is a collaborative effort, and I can’t imagine it with a different lead vocal either, which is perfect. Or different lyrics, which are perfect also. Each song for the ages is the sum of its parts. Going a long way around to say I am in the camp with those who think Matthew Fisher didn’t deserve one third. Thank you for these wonderful moments today – I wouldn’t have heard A Whiter Shade of Pale or thought about this interesting topic!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.