It’s the Middle of the Week! Thursdays Middle of the Week Classic Rock Songs: “Conquistador”, Procol Harum…

PROCOL HARUM (with Robin Trower,) c. 1967. Best Songs: Whiter ...

Of course we all know the classic of classics by Procol Harum, “A Whiter Shade of Pale”. But many may not have known, or remembered, another great song they released in 1972, which had actually been recorded and released in their 1967 album, titled Procol Harum. The version here is from the 1972 album Procol Harum Live: In Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.

Always loved this song, as well as always being fascinated by this band. They played some tremendous rock, great guitars, great vocals but they play with symphony orchestras! Wow! For me, back in those High School years, it was “far out”!

Procol harum - conquistador / all this and more - Vendido en Venta ...

Here are the lyrics, they are quite interesting and worth a read-through before listening to the song…

Conquistador your stallion stands in need of company
And like some angel’s haloed brow
You reek of purity
I see your armour-plated breast has long since lost its sheen
And in your death mask face
There are no signs which can be seen
And though I hoped for something to find
I could see no maze to unwind
Conquistador a vulture sits upon your silver shield
And in your rusty scabbard now
The sand has taken seed

And though your jewel-encrusted blade has not been plundered still
The sea has washed across your face
And taken of its fill
And though I hoped for something to find
I could see no maze to unwind
Conquistador there is no time
I must pay my respect
And though I came to jeer at you
I leave now with regret
And as the gloom begins to fall
I see there is no aureole
And though you came with sword held high
You did not conquer, only die
And though I hoped for something to find
I could see no maze to unwind

As a Spaniard, of course anything that had to do with our “Conquistadores” interests me. This song apparently is the story of a dead conquistador that washed up on a beach, the narrator found the body and though he at first accuses the dead soldier of having reeked of “purity”, and wants to jeer at him, in the end he finds pity for the lonely death of this man, so far from home, sees no aureole and realises that although he came hoping something to find he leaves knowing there is “no maze to unwind”, and the conquistador didn’t conquer, only die.

Procol Harum - "Memorial Drive" - Live 1971 - YouTube

A bit of the old tales, as Procol Harum likes to tell. They also had great songs dedicated to sailors and the sea, mostly with a theme of hopelessness and of destruction and end of things, like “Salty Dog” and “Whaling Stories”. Both are great songs from the same album…

“Conquistador” was Procol Harum’s second highest charting single, coming in at #16. It has also been included in Dave Thompson’s 1000 Songs that Rock Your World. The song was written by Keith Reid, (lyrics), and Gary Brooker, (music), who also did the vocals.

Procol Harum | Musica, Simones, Vida

This song is part of my High School memories from the United States. I fell in love with that powerful music, those symphonic chords, those intense horns and the despair in Brooker’s voice as he tells the tale of the dead Conquistador.

Procol Harum was formed in 1967. They are a British band and the grandpappys of “progressive rock”. The success of “A Whiter Shade of Pale”, number one in the UK on 08 JUN 1967 and stayed in the number one position for six weeks. “A Whiter Shade of Pale” was named as UK’s best pop single of the years between 1952 and 1977, a triumph the song shared with Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”.​

What in bloody hell does the name Procol Harum mean? Here is what Gary Brooker had to say: (first he says the name came from their manager who telephoned and told them the name, I don’t know about the cat, maybe it was the manager’s cat, in any event, here is what he said:

But in Latin, the cat’s name was ‘Procul’ with a ‘u’ and ‘Harun’ with an ‘n’ on the end, ‘Beyond these things’ in Latin. We got round to saying that Procol Harum in fact meant ‘Beyond these things’, which was a nice coincidence: at least it didn’t mean, ‘I’m going to town to buy a cow’ or something.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this selection and that perhaps…to some of me older mates…it brings some memories of those years. I hope they were happy ones. I know they were for me.

Thank you and please do not forget to like and to follow, re-blog if you really liked it, and as always, I ask for your comments, for your opinions. Do you like this series? If there is support I will continue with great songs from the classic rock era, so let’s talk about it.

Cheers!

10 comments

  1. DougInNC · 10 Days Ago

    Well, someone else liked that song? It wasn’t just me? Thanks for sharing this, including the lyrics which I never knew completely. I’m sure the artist knows “aureole” but I had to find the definition … just another way I learn from your postings, FBC.

    • Francisco Bravo Cabrera · 10 Days Ago

      Thank you Doug! Yes, I always loved that song and I’m so glad you liked it as well. Take good care and I look forward to seeing more of your beautiful photography. All the best,
      Francisco

  2. Brad Osborne · 10 Days Ago

    Great post, my friend! This was a little before my time, so I was unfamiliar with the band and their music. I enjoyed the songs you shared and will be listening to some of their other works as they have a unique sound and the symphonic accompaniment is superb. Great research and writing, Francisco! Have a great day!

    • Francisco Bravo Cabrera · 9 Days Ago

      Well i am really happy if I was able to introduce you to a fantastic group, that’s still around, but whose music from the seventies was phenomenal. Thank you my friend!

  3. tiffanyarpdaleo · 9 Days Ago

    Wow, I haven’t thought about these guys in years, another one I used to listen to all the time, thanks for the reminder!

    • Francisco Bravo Cabrera · 9 Days Ago

      You’re welcome Tiffany, I’m so glad it reminded you of this great band! Al the best, have a lovely weekend 😊

  4. cincinnatibabyhead · 3 Days Ago

    What an epic, cinematic song. Great take Francisco and a great piece of powerful music. The orchestra was a perfect idea’

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