Procol Harum

the Pale 

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Shine On Brightly

Brooker /  Reid

Album: Shine On Brightly 1968,  One Eye to the Future (2008), The Best of Then and Now (2010)

Picture sleeve

Taking Notes and Stealing Quotes on this song

Cover-version: yes

Words by
Keith Reid


My Prussian-blue electric clock's
alarm bell rings, it will not stop
and I can see no end in sight
and search in vain by candlelight
for some long road that goes nowhere
for some signpost that is not there
And even my befuddled brain
is shining brightly, quite insane

The chandelier is in full swing
as gifts for me the three kings bring
of myrrh and frankincense, I'm told,
and fat old Buddhas carved in gold
And though it seems they smile with glee
I know in truth they envy me
and watch as my befuddled brain
shines on brightly quite insane

Above all else confusion reigns
And though I ask no-one explains
My eunuch friend has been and gone
He said that I must soldier on
And though the Ferris wheel spins round
my tongue it seems has run aground
and croaks as my befuddled brain
shines on brightly, quite insane  

Cut from the same cloth as the mega-smash single Whiter Shade of Pale and the respectable Conquistador, Shine on Brightly speaks of a trippy 'befuddled brain' that 'shines on brightly, quite insane'. In three verses, a world of confusion is depicted: alarm clocks that don't stop ringing; searching for roads that lead nowhere and signs that aren't there; spinning chandeliers and references to the three wise men and 'fat old Buddhas' who envy the befuddled one. It's a crazy world without explanations, and despite the spin of the Ferris wheel and advice of a eunuch, the singer's voice is choked, yet the brain continues to shine on brightly insanity seen as a sort of liberation from the realm of meaning. Robin Trower's suitably crazy, shrieking lead guitar riff wails with freaky brilliance, playing off Gary Brooker's plucky 'pomp and circumstance' piano stride and David Knights' contrapuntal bass. A fine classically minded organ interlude by Matthew Fisher evokes whiter shades of pale. In toto, it's an oddly successful blend of allusive Dylanesque lyrics, psychedelic acid rock, and regal British progrock, and looking back, probably should have been released as a single.

[From the All Music website]

Shine On Brightly ornamental urns

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