Sarah Brightman - A whiter shade of pale

We skipped the light Fandango
Turned cartwheels 'cross the floor
I was feeling kind of 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 I would not let her be
One of the sixteen vestal virgins
Who were leaving for the coast
And although my eyes were open
They might just as well've been closed

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

music: Matthew Fisher & Gary Brooker
lyrics: Keith Reid

From: La Luna: non-European version (2000)
and The very best of 1990-2000 (2001).
The song also appears on the Chinese version of Classics (2002?).
and on: Live from Las Vegas (2004).

Source of the lyrics: the CD-booklet, with many thanks to Loo Jiaming.

On this page furthermore:
   >    background of the song
   >    other versions by/from Sarah


Background of the song

This song is a Procol Harum song from 1967, written for Procol Harum by Fisher, Brooker & Reid.

A part of the melody is based on the Johann Sebastian Bach's Cantata 140, also known as "Sleepers Awake" [the original German title is Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme], which is Bach's transcription of the fourth movement of the Cantata of the same name. More so, however, the song is based on Bach's "Air for G String": if you hear that, you certainly recognise "A Whiter Shade of Pale", but it is different enough to say that Procol Harum's song is more than an adaptation of Bach's "Air for G String".

This page on the site gives background information on "A Whiter Shade of Pale". See also this page at and this page at for some info.

[Thanks especially to Paul Dietrich and also to Jeroen van Gent for info and help.]


Other versions by/from Sarah

[CD-cover] In June 2001 Angel Records released a 57 minute maxi-single entitled "A Whiter Shade Of Pale" (see cover on the right), which has five versions of this song:
  1.   A whiter shade of pale   -   (radio edit - 3:10)
  2.   A whiter shade of pale   -   (ATB remix - 8:32)
  3.   A whiter shade of pale   -   (Ecstasy mix - 3:12)
  4.   A whiter shade of pale   -   (Paralyzer remix - 6:05)
  5.   A whiter shade of pale   -   (ATB radio edit - 3:57)
followed by 5 versions of A question of honour, originally from Fly (1995/97):
  6.   A question of honour   -   (radio edit - 5:19)
  7.   A question of honour   -   (Pech remix - 5:18)
  8.   A question of honour   -   (Knock Out mix - 8:15)
  9.   A question of honour   -   (Damage Control remix - 6:03)
10.   A question of honour   -   (Tom Lord-Alge edit - 6:39)
The original tracks of the songs were taken and techno beats and some new orchestration were added by groups or people. This makes it sound like modern dance club music (known as "techno").
Songs 1 and 6 are the album versions, but shortend somewhat. The songs have the same lyrics as the album versions except they are sung at different intervals and, obviously, with different music.
The CD as released in the USA has multimedia software on it that can be installed in a PC and includes a music video of song 5. The software includes a screen saver with animation to La Luna.
[With thanks to Ana Rivera and Julie Thompson for info and help]

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created: 16 August 2000
last modified: 19 May 2011