Friday, January 3, 2014

"If music be the food of love then laughter is its queen"

For our first Friday traditio of 2014 I was in the mood for something a bit off-beat. So, Annie Lennox singing the Procol Harum song "A Whiter Shade of Pale."

Maybe I chose this song, released in 1967, because it's winter, snow on the ground, but it's been there awhile and so looks a bit used, like it could use a fresh whiter shade of pale. But I think it is because the song is wonderful and Annie Lennox is fascinating.

It seems strange to me that in the minds of many (not me, I was 2 at the time) the song is associated with the "Summer of Love." But it is good enough to overcome all of that. As Patrick Coffin noted in his wonderful book, Sex au Nautrel: What It Is and Why It's Good For Your Marriage, the next year, 1968, would see both Woodstock and the promulgation of Pope Paul VI's Humanae Vitae. A year that historian Paul Johnson wrote was the occasion of "America's suicide attempt" (diaconal bow to Coffin for that too). Sadly, it wasn't our last attempt, not by a long shot.

At the 1977 Brit Awards, "A Whiter Shade of Pale" tied with "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen for "Best British Pop Single 1952–1977." But I digress:

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 straightway died

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