Procol Harum

the Pale

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The 'Salty Dog' single

John Peel on why it didn't chart in the UK

The BBC's longest-serving and certainly most authoritative radio DJ John Peel used to host an hour-long concert programme on Radio One entitled The Sunday Show, which Procol Harum played in 1970: with Trower on bass and Copping on organ they performed A Salty Dog, which Peel back-announced, in his trademark drawl, as follows:

'... and, er, that was A Salty Dog, which was once released as a single, and should have done, er, a lot better in fact as a single than it did; unfortunately, um, seeing as it was longer than two-and-a-half minutes long and isn't exactly a bright tempo, a lot of my colleagues won't play it because they feel that, er, more than two-and-a-half minutes without some, er, feeble quip from them, er, is going to make the world a sadder place ... '


Post Script
On Peel's BBC Radio 4 Home Truths programme one Saturday morning in February 2002 (not music, but a "wry look at the foibles of family life") there was a feature on a couple who are excessively picky about the colour and décor of their sitting-room and had re-painted it four times to get the correct shade. This unfolded over a background of A Whiter Shade of Pale, at the end of which Peel declared "Ah, I was always more of a Homburg man myself..."
(thank you, Martin) 

Pirate Radio-related oddity

Bizarrely A Salty Dog is one of the tracks on this Radio Caroline compilation CD (illustrated), alongside work by The Move, The Flowerpot Men, The Beach Boys, The Turtles, Sandpebbles, Flaming Ember, Cher, Norman Greenbaum, Canned Heat, The Animals, The Hollies, Ray Stevens, The Buoys and Jackie Deshannon

More information from here

Furthermore ...

Jeremy Mahahevan commented on A Salty Dog in The New Straits Times (January 2006): There's much more to this mouthful of a band than A Whiter Shade of Pale. It was a bit of an oddity on the late-sixties, early-seventies prog-rock landscape, being predisposed towards four-minute songs rather than 17-minute ones ... . The article was online here .

Procol's progress in the UK singles chart

BBC sessions

More about BBC sessions

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