353. In held ’twas in I

Procol Harum achieved improbable levels of success with their very first single, 1967’s Whiter Shade of Pale, and it was taken rather seriously. Because it was rock meets Johan Sebastien Bach with lyrics obscure enough to almost make you forget that Bob Dylan had taken a vacation, more or less. But then what do you do for an encore? You go further, higher, deeper, longer, you give all of side two of your second album to a single seventeen minute track called In Held Twas In I, which to many ears, ranks as the first genuine prog rock epic. In other words, yeah, it probably goes too far, too high and deep, definitely too long. But what do expect from young men cut loose from the herd, more or less commanded to go climb the highest mountain? Or as the Dalai Lama puts it in the intro. Life is like a beanstalk. Isn’t it?” (Philip Random)

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815. rambling on

“I came across Procol Harum‘s second album (Shine on Brightly) sometime in the teenybop blur of my very early teens. My friend Joseph had it, grabbed from his older sister who’d lost interest. We played it a lot, getting off on the ‘out there’ lyrics and the not too shabby songs that gave them room to move. The rather aptly titled Rambling On concerns a guy who sees a Batman movie and decides he can fly, which doesn’t make sense because everybody knows that Batman can’t fly. Eventually the guy comes crashing to earth but doesn’t get hurt, just tears his underclothes. Not exactly on par with Bob Dylan’s symbolist offerings (which is how people were thinking of these guys at the time) but good, solid psychedelic fun regardless.” (Philip Random)