Conquistador – Procol Harum

Australian charts: 1972

The narrator of “Conquistador” addresses the body of a dead conquistador lying on a beach, no doubt partially embedded in the sand and obviously not long after death or the corpse would not attract a vulture, nor would the “stallion” still be nearby. He at first jeers at the irony of the failure of the Conquistador’s imagined mission, and the desolation of the scene and his corpse, but on reflection regrets his mockery and offers pity for the lonely and futile fate of the conquistador, “You did not conquer, only die.”

Procol Harum’s lyricist Keith Reid told us the story behind this song: “Gary Brooker and I, before we formed Procol Harum, when we were just working together as songwriters and getting into it, we had this regular deal where he lived about 40 miles from London near the ocean, and I’d jump on a train once a week and go visit him. He’d have a bunch of my lyrics and he’d play me whatever he had been working on. This particular time, though, I’d got down there and he’d been working on a tune. He said, ‘What does this sound like to you?’ And I said, ‘Oh, conquistador.’ It had a little bit of a Spanish flavor to it. I went into another room and started writing the words there and then.

Australian Charts:
Conquistador peaked at no 3 on the Go-Set National Top 40 in September 1972.


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