Procol Harum are a British rock band, formed in 1967, which contributed to the development of progressive rock, and by extension, symphonic rock. Their best-known recording is their 1967 single "A Whiter Shade of Pale". Although noted for its baroque and classical influence, Procol Harum's music also embraces the blues, R&B and soul. In October 2012, the band were nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Reminiscent of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner".
Again, to sea. An escape from women. A substitute for suicide.
Suicide by femme fatale...?
A nasty way to go? Not necessarily...
- Day after day, day after day,
- We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
- As idle as a painted ship
- Upon a painted ocean.
- Water, water, every where,
- And all the boards did shrink;
- Water, water, every where,
- Nor any drop to drink.
- -- by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
- See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_mariner
- Also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Taylor_Coleridge
- No water but plenty of opium for the poet's seafaring dream.
- And for the modern songwriters?
- Weed acid uppers downers beer wine...Whatever works.
- I just let the imagery spontaneously come.
- My mind is like a movie theater where I never quite know what's playing nor for how long.
- The actors are the usual amateurs.
- Except for the lead.
- Enter the everlasting hero of the ongoing epic journey.
- And who would that be, you well may ask?
- That would be the professional Me.
- Can I stand him?
- Yes I can.
- With every passing year it gets easier.
- But wait a sec...
A Salty Dog
All hands on deck, we've run a float,
I heard the Captain cry.
Explore the ship, replace the cook,
Let no one leave alive.
Across the straits, around the horn,
How far can sailors fly?
A twisted path, our tortured course,
And no one left alive.
We sailed for parts unknown to man,
Where ships come home to die.
No lofty peak, nor fortress bold,
Could match our captain's eye.
Upon the seventh seasick day,
We made our port of call.
A sand so white, and sea so blue,
No mortal place at all.
We fired the guns, and burned the mast,
And rowed from ship to shore.
The captain cried, we sailors wept,
Our tears were tears of joy!
Now many moons and many Junes,
Have passed since we made land.
A Salty Dog, the seaman's log,
Your witness, my own hand.
--song written by Gary Brooker & Keith Reid
Here's an interesting interpretation:
They're sailing the river Styx. Their captain is Charon. But they do find themselves in Heaven at the end.
"The seventh sea-sick day" -- 7 being the number of the infinite.
As with most Procol Harum songs that I've heard, Christian imagery and numerology play their part, here.
They fired the gun to announce their arrival, and burned the mast because they intended never to return to their port of departure.
"A salty dog, this seaman's log: your witness, my own hand" is the end of the letter.
In his blindness and old age, Paul had Timothy write his last epistles.
Paul came in at the end to say, "I write this in my own hand," to prove to the recipients that the letter was authentic, and that Paul was still alive.
It should be written like this:
Now many moons and many Junes have passed since we made land.
A salty dog, this seaman's log.
(my own hand)
He felt his name was unimportant, just that he had witnessed this all, and wrote it to us as a promise.
[source: ASaltyDog on November 20, 2010 @ http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/3530822107858528192/ ]
Another somewhat related take:
The song is about the sinking of a ship. It could have sank rounding Cape of Good Hope (southern tip of the African continent) which is very treacherous. There are no survivors as noted in the lyrics “and no one left alive.” The rest of the song is about their journey into an afterlife as indicated by “Upon the seventh seasick day we made our port of call”. Port of call being “heaven” as in “seventh heaven”. Another key line indicating this is “no mortal place at all”. In the final verse the line “and burnt the mast” indicates that there is no going back to the mortal world, they have accepted this and their entrance into the afterlife is met with “tears of joy”. The line “many moons and many Junes” is a poetic way to epitomize the sense of eternity. Finally, the sinking is noted in the seaman’s log and seen by “your witness”. “Your” in this sense is god as in “god as my witness”. Since the ship sunk at sea with no survivors and would have been destroyed by the ocean over time there are no human witnesses to their “tortured course”.
Note that “heaven” can be interpreted any way one likes. It could be thought of as “nirvana” or “the great beyond” or even some kind of “reincarnation”. In any case the song represents sailors risking their lives for passion for the sea. It is a story of those who never made it to their destination - lost at sea forever...
[source: fullmoon2000 on June 22, 2010 @ http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/3530822107858528192/ ]
Love peace & passion. Aren't we interesting sentient creatures? Stay in the light. Its so easy to stray into the dark twisted perverse. Art need not be a form &/or expression of craziness.