In the 1970s, I owned a greatest hits album by Procol Harum, for some reason, on cassette. I don’t remember the title – there are so many of them! – but it ended with a live version of Conquistador. Eventually the tape wore out, as cassettes were wont to do, and I replaced it with a 2000 CD, imaginatively called Greatest Hits.

I was gobsmacked when I got to the song Boredom. I was unfamiliar with it, as it wasn’t on my cassette. The lyrics began:

Some say they will and some say they won’t
Some say they do and some say they don’t
Some say they shall and some say they shan’t
And some say they can and some say they can’t

Back in high school and early in my college days, I tried my hand at songwriting. I didn’t think they were very good, and I seldom shared them with anyone. I had them in a notebook which is now lost or at least misplaced.

One was called Inconsistent:

The most consistent thing about me
Is my inconsistency…

But here’s the chorus (or a variation thereof)

If you think I will, well, then I won’t
If you think I do, well, then I don’t
If you think I can, well, then I can’t
If you think I shall, well, then I shan’t

And it goes on from there. The very specific use of the word “shan’t” makes me think that I must have heard the song Boredom on some FM radio station late at night and inadvertently purloined it.

Boredom shows up on the A Salty Dog album that came out in 1969. Technically I DO own it now, since some friends of mine gave me their LPs when they were just holding on to their CDs, but I’ve actually never played it, apparently.

Listen to:

Boredom
A Salty Dog, arguably, my favorite PH song

And for good measure:
Conquistador, from the live album, which actually got to #16 on the US Billboard charts

One Response to “Music throwback: Boredom by Procol Harum”

  • CGHill says:

    For what it’s worth, I have “written” three songs; two turned out to be thinly-disguised versions of “Walk — Don’t Run,” and the third owes its melody to Professor Tom Lehrer.

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