LONDON (Billboard) - Procol Harum's 1967 classic A Whiter Shade of Pale has been named as the most-played record of the past 70 years in the United Kingdom, according to British performing rights group PPL (Phonographic Performance Ltd).
To mark its 70th anniversary, PPL tabulated the 70 recordings that have received the most airings, not only on radio but all other public performances, including clubs, retail outlets and jukeboxes. It [sic] was produced using methodology that ensured each of the seven decades in the organization's history was fairly represented.
Research reflected the amount of play gathered by a song on its original release, as well as subsequent exposure.
After learning that A Whiter Shade beat Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody to take the No 1 position on the survey, Procol Harum band-member Gary Brooker told Billboard: "When poor old Freddie Mercury died (in 1991), it gave a huge boost to Bohemian Rhapsody, but Whiter Shade has never been the subject of a lot of hype, and it wasn't when it came out."
The top 10 of the chart embraces the years 1957–1994, but earlier recordings were also represented in the top 70. The oldest track in the chart was In The Mood by Glenn Miller and the Orchestra, from 1939, at No 35. Bing Crosby's White Christmas (1942) was at No 16 and the same singer's Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town (1943) at No 58.
After Procul [sic] Harum and Queen, the top 10 included Wet Wet Wet's Love Is All Around at No 3, the Everly Brothers' All I Have To Do Is Dream/Claudette at No 4, Bryan Adams (Everything I Do) I Do It For You at No 5, Abba's Dancing Queen at No 6, Elvis Presley's All Shook Up at No 7, Rod Stewart's Maggie May at No 8, and the Beatles pair of Hello Goodbye and Get Back at Nos 9 and 10, respectively.
17 May 2004, Paul Sexton at Reuters
Southend's Evening Echo reported with classic brevity also on Monday 17 May 2004:
Southend: A Harum classic tune makes £6m
Southend band Procol Harum have topped the list of the most-played song for A Whiter Shade of Pale.
The 1967 classic reached worldwide sales of £6m. The melody was written by Gary Brooker who went to school in Southend.
The tune is based on a movement in Bach's Suite No 3 in D Major. Drummer
Bobby Harrison still lives in Shoebury.
More AWSoP lore | Similar story five years later