I mentioned Procol Harum a few posts ago. When I wrote about America by The Nice I said, under the influence of a programme I’d seen on the history of the form on BBC 3 or 4, that it seemed that was where Prog Rock began. However it is arguable that Procol Harum’s A Whiter Shade Of Pale, with its debt to Air on the G String, is a truer progenitor.

Among other reasons, A Whiter Shade Of Pale is famous for the opacity of its lyric. I confess to a soft spot for the follow up single, Homburg, (based more on Sheep May Safely Graze) where the lyric is not quite so opaque. The verses are a shade apocalyptic but not the refrain.

Verse 2 runs like this:
The Town Clock in the market square stands waiting for the hour,
When its hands they both turn backwards and on meeting will devour
Both themselves and also any fool who dares to tell the time,
And the sun and moon will shatter and the signposts cease to sign.

SF/fantasy imagery or what?

But then we get a refrain dealing with (a lack of) sartorial elegance.
Your trouser cuffs are dirty and your shoes are laced up wrong,
You’d better take off your homburg cause your overcoat is too long.

Utterly bizarre.

I couldn’t find a version where the first few notes are not omitted.

Edited to add. I have now.

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