Carlos Santana had just dropped his new collaboration with Steve Winwood on a cover of Procol Harum‘s 1967 classic, “A Whiter Shade Of Pale.” The new track is featured on Santana’s upcoming Blessings And Miracles album, set for release on October 15th.
Santana recalled how back in 2017, he and Winwood were sharing a bill at a concert at London’s Hyde Park, and suggested they record the song: “I said, ‘You and I have to do it, but we’re going to do it very sexy, like a Hare Krishna but with congas.’ I played the components in his ear, and he said, ‘I hear it, Carlos. You’re right.’ So that’s what we did — it’s Santana, Cuban, Puerto Rican in an African way. And man, you talk about sexy. Steve’s voice is so sexy and beautiful.”
Steve Winwood added: “Carlos has been doing what I’ve been trying to do for the last fifty years, namely combining elements of rock, jazz, folk, and Latin Afro-Caribbean music. Carlos’ genius comes in large part from a wonderful combination of rock music with Latin-Cuban rhythms. I’ve played with Carlos on numerous occasions over the past 50 years and I’m very excited to be working with him again still.”
We recently caught up with “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” composer Gary Brooker, who still tours as part of Procol Harum. He recalled walking into a clothes boutique in Britain in 1967 and seeing none other than John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr all singing “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” while they shopped: “I remember when that came out. About the second week it was out, it was Number One. And we had to go and buy some clothes — we didn’t have any. And we went into a King’s Row boutique, we had to ring the bell (to get in), it was that exclusive. And when we went in, all the Beatles were in there, round the harmonium, singing ‘Whiter Shade Of Pale,’ and I realized they must like it.”
Santana performs tonight (September 22nd) in Simpsonville, South Carolina at CCNB Amphitheatre at Heritage Park.