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Her face, at first just ghostly ...

Is there a more recognizable, more elegant first note to any song in rock than the opening note to "A Whiter Shade of Pale"?


( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 11th, 2007 08:36 am (UTC)
In my high school concert band, we played "A Whiter Shade of Pale" my sophomore year. It was one of my favorites-- subtly sad and really pretty.
Oct. 12th, 2007 05:01 am (UTC)
Did the band do any Hendrix?
Oct. 11th, 2007 11:51 am (UTC)
I'll let that thought roll around in the music section of my brain, but I suspect you're on to something. Especially when you add the word "elegant." (Recognizable alone? Yeah, maybe. "Layla" comes to mind, but that's partly because I recently read Pattie Boyd's memoir. But elegant? "Whiter Shade" may have it.)
Oct. 12th, 2007 05:02 am (UTC)
Either that or "Cat Scratch Fever" by Ted Nugent.
Oct. 11th, 2007 02:17 pm (UTC)
The first note in Yes' "Roundabout" comes to mind. I can recognize that song on the radio instantaneously just by its first note.
Oct. 11th, 2007 02:18 pm (UTC)
It's not really elegant, though.
Oct. 12th, 2007 05:00 am (UTC)
Your words, not mine.
Oct. 11th, 2007 11:27 pm (UTC)
A very haunting song, to be sure. A friend had the album way back when (don't know if we do or not) and I've got Annie Lennox singing it on a cd of cover tunes she did.
Oct. 12th, 2007 05:03 am (UTC)
Re: Hey!
Procol Harum is my current "go-back-and-check-'em-out-again" band. It took me three CD purchases and an iTunes Store download to get the version of "Conquistador" that I wanted, though.
Oct. 12th, 2007 02:59 am (UTC)
Don't know about the elegant part, but that first note of "I Feel Fine" by my beloved Fabs is a magical one for me....
Oct. 12th, 2007 04:58 am (UTC)
Re: Hmm...
Don't know about the elegant part? Jeez, we here in LJ land haven't heard from you in weeks, and you reappear with a Boy Howdy chain-yank of elephantine proportions.

Anyway, dig this:

(Organs, Bach and money)

Oct. 12th, 2007 01:49 pm (UTC)
I've been buried in proving my existence worthy of the university's continuing support. ;-) Finally digging out after weeks of bureaucracy.

Hey, wasn't saying "Whiter Shade of Pale" isn't elegant. Was saying that "I Feel Fine" is pretty magical whether it qualifies as elegant or not.

Oct. 12th, 2007 02:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Disparu
With you it's bureaucracy; with me it's essays by first-year students. I'm not lamenting my situation, though.

I have a unique musical relationship with the Beatles. By that, I mean it was impossible to grow up when I did without having the Beatles seep into my musical pores, even though I never bought one of their singles or LPs. In short, I heard a lot of them and liked it all. Spooky Beatles story: I was at a party in high school where a kid sang "Norwegian Wood" while playing a guitar. Many years later, he killed a local policeman with a single freak punch that caught the officer just right and broke a major blood vessel. I always link that song and that poor guy, who had walked away from a mental health care facility, which was why the cop stopped him.

Anyway: When you cite "I Feel Fine," I don't know the opening note. I can hear the harmonies in the chorus; I just don't know how it starts. And coming down on the "Stones" side of the "Beatles/Stones" question, it's worth pointing out that in my head right now, I can't recall the first note of "Jumpin' Jack Flash."

As for Procol Harum, I had a "Greatest Hits" of theirs on vinyl, but nothing digital. But hearing "Pale" on the radio a month or so ago got me thinking I should refresh my catalog. So I bought a different "Greatest Hits" compilation, but it had the studio version of "Conquistador." I wanted the live version, but bought the wrong one at the iTunes Store. So then I ordered the CD of the album with the version I wanted (the live with the Edmonton Symphony disc), and while I was ordering that, I also ordered "Grand Hotel," based on the Amazon reviews. Listening to that latter CD while driving back and forth to work over the last couple of days, I was reminded -- yet again -- of just how much good music simply got by me back when I was enrolled full-time in the College of Musical Knowledge.

Oct. 12th, 2007 10:28 pm (UTC)
Re: Disparu
Really? You never bought a Beatles album? Huh. I can see no singles; you always seemed much more like an LP sort of music listener than a quick hit kind of guy. I'll admit to a big ol' stack of 45s, but don't have any of them now. Just albums.

Tyler's been pulling out our Beatles albums and listening to quite a bit lately; he downloaded one of the Anthology discs and has been popping that in for our morning rides to school.
Oct. 12th, 2007 11:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Disparu
Sherry had some Beatles long-players.

It must be great to enjoy the same kind of music with Tyler.
Oct. 12th, 2007 11:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Disparu
It helps bridge the gap, that's for sure. He also likes introducing us to new stuff; right now he's big on Animal Collective.
Oct. 12th, 2007 02:09 pm (UTC)
Fisher should be shot...
40%? How crazy are the courts? He should get nothing. If he wanted to press a claim, he should have done so in 1967.

I guess what's nest is the Harrison estate pressing for a 33% credit on "I Feel Fine" because George played that sustained note....

Here's what happened - they're in the session and Fisher throws out the organ bit and Brooker says, "That sounds great,let's use it." I'm pretty damned sure that doesn't give Fisher a 40% stake in the song's creation - which is what inspired his organ bit.

This is rock in all its mean-spiritedness.

Oct. 12th, 2007 11:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Fisher should be shot...
This one was even more outrageous:

(No bread for dread)
Oct. 14th, 2007 12:46 pm (UTC)
Procol Harum
Yes, there is: The vocal "note" from Two Tub Man.
Oct. 14th, 2007 01:54 pm (UTC)
Re: Procol Harum
They're all goin' under the thunder of Manitoba.
Oct. 18th, 2007 08:05 pm (UTC)
All this time, I thought you only liked good music. I know everyone loves "Whiter Shade of Pale" (even the title is annoying) but to me, that first note says "Hit the seek button, quick!"
The floodgate opening judgment won by the organist for his BachKnockOff intro adds another degree of annoyance to the song.
As for the most elegant first note, I nominate AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long."
Oct. 19th, 2007 01:25 pm (UTC)
Angus Young: "I get so mad when people say we've made 12 albums that sound exactly the same, when, in fact, we've made 13 albums that sound exactly the same."
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