Procol Harum is far from a singles band, so it's not surprising that they couldn't generate a hit with this song. When Songfacts spoke with Gary Brooker
in 2010, he had this to say on the subject: "What happens with a song that becomes a hit is that people want to hear it again, they've got to hear it again. Therefore, that requires what we call 'hooks,' doesn't it? And hooks can be all sorts of things, they can be just a little turnaround in the song. Often the people that aren't musicians, the producers and the people at record companies, are the ones that pick up on what is the hook. It might be an unimportant part of the song to you, but suddenly that is the part of the song that captures you. That's the part that hooks you and gets you in. So if you're thinking of a single, then you've got to have hooks and/or you've also got to have something that's quite different to everything else that's around. I think 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale
' fell into that category, something like - what's the one by the Irish girl that was a Prince song? 'Nothing Compares
'? That's got lots of hooks in it, also. It was very different to whatever else was around musically, off the wall and interesting. We don't always want what we heard last week. It doesn't mean to follow the fads and fashions is what makes a success, often it's the complete opposite of that. The 'go where no man dares to tread.'"