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The Road To Fort Worth

Read » Chapter 8: Danville


A Whiter Shade Of Pale - The Missing Verses

How much time did I waste back in the 60s listening to the Cyrcle's rendition of the Paul Simon and Bruce Woodley's song "Red Rubber Ball?"

"I think it's gonna be alright. Yeah, the worst is over now. The mornin' sun is shining like a red rubber ball."

Perhaps a better use of my time would have been to look for esoteric meanings in Procol Harum's lyrics. "Red Rubber Ball" rose to stardom, sinking quickly like the setting sun in the tropics, while "A Whiter Shade Of Pale" became a part of our collective unconscious. When I found the lost verses, the meaning became obvious to me because I'm no stranger to skipping the light Fandango, feeling seasick as the ceiling flew away!

Is this a song about a drinking binge, booze and drugs, an hallucination, or all of the above? You be the judge.

Verse One

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

Chorus:
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

Organ Solo

Verse Two (omitted in recordings)

She said "I'm home on shore leave"
Though in truth we were at sea
So I took her by the looking glass
And forced her to agree
Saying, "You must be the mermaid
Who took Neptune for a ride"
But she smiled at me so sadly
That my anger straight 'way died

Chorus:
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

Verse Three

She said there is no reason
And the truth is plain to see
But I wandered through my playing cards
And would not let her be
One of sixteen vestal virgins
Who were leaving for the coast
And although my eyes were open
They might just as well've been closed

Chorus:
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

And so it was.... (fade)

Verse Four (omitted in recordings)

If music be the food of love
And laughter is its queen
And likewise if behind's in front
Then dirt in truth is clean
My mouth by then like cardboard
Seemed to slip straight through my head
So we crashed dived straight way quickly
And attacked the ocean bed

Chorus:
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


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