The words to this song were written by lyricist Keith Reid and the music by lead singer Gary Brooker. In a radio interview with DJ Harry Harrison, Brooker said the words came from Reid's experiences and only he knows what they mean. However he didn't think they meant anything literally. Instead if you take each line the way the words are used, they create little feelings, little moods. (courtesy: procolharum.com)
The Homburg is an elegant black felt hat manufactured at Bad Homburg, Germany. The British version was introduced in the late 19th century by the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII of England, who first came across it when he went to Germany for the spa. In the late 1930s during the run up to the Second World War, the British foreign minister Anthony Eden became renowned for wearing the Homburg.
Barbara Atherton from BridlingtonHaving recently watched the excellent Jeremy Thorpe Scandal drama, I can only associate Homburg with an awful image of Thorpe wearing that mark of his class. Really, he should have been dripping with shame (overcoat too long). He needed to resign (remove that hat). His multi-lingual business friend leaving a lipsticked unmade bed seems an acceptable lyrical metaphor for the vaselined sheets of the Norman Scott episode but also for the whole shameful denouement. Or the words could be adapted to any one of the despicable sexual scandals uncovered in the '60's and beyond that politicians always seem able to weasel their way out of.
My analysis only makes this wonderful song more powerful to me.
Ben Dirks from Nijmegen, -I just love this song [better than the generally acknowledged "Whiter shade" ... It is of course the great melody and the [like Shade] completely uncomprehendible lyrics; nice imagery thuogh ...
Lester from New York City, NyI was a big fan of Procol Harum during the Trower years. They produced some great albums. Would love for a few more of their songs to be listed in here, "In Held 'Twas In I" in particular.