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on 2010 03-19
Springsteen with a little funk, please
Manfred Mann’s Earth Band were a fantastic hipster’s secret, this jazz/funk/snappy riff-thick rock n roll band from England that had a small secret fraternity of fans in North America until that stupid Roaring Silence album came out and Blinded By The Light became a monster hit and the whole thing was ruined. And to top it off, everybody thought they were this pop band because of the single, which was just HUGE and made the guy a zillion dollars which he used to fund his mad music experiments for the rest of time.
But here’s where the circle comes back to the cool: even though the song was played next to Captain & Tennille on car radios, the band was next to the Grateful Dead in concert.
So there’s this grand prank where the 45-singles-buying crowd innocently went into a Manfred Mann show expecting the poppy Do Wah Diddy Diddy guy but getting the BeeGeebers knocked out of them by this jazz / funk / improv rock combo. Few bands ever had a defining hit that sounded less like the group than these guys did. Okay, maybe Kiss with Beth, but that’s about it.
So, they earn their way onto the Midnight Special based on their #1 hit. And then this is the version they do. It’s so funny, brilliant, cool. A classic musical bait-and-switch by a classic music brain.
THIS is Blinded By The Light. That hit you heard was just make-up and mirrors.
The guy takes a happy but forgettable acoustic summer love song by Bruce Springsteen, rearranges it as a 3-minute synthesizer pop hit and it becomes the 17th biggest selling song of 1977. And then he takes that simple pop song and rearranges it as a 7 minute live rock anthem. How can you not love this guy?
The classically trained Mann regularly incorporates famous or contemporary symphonic music into songs, and in Blinded you can hear him play with Chopsticks!
Do Not Miss — the fabulous counterpoint singing in the climax. It’s the whole reason Mann wanted to do the song in the first place — just to play around with the vocals at the end! What a nut. There’s something very Zappa about this guy’s eccentric and eclectic musical mind.
And then there’s this — I had all six Manfred Mann’s Earth Band albums before this song ever came out. And in the mid-70s, where are you ever gonna see this obscure band from England that never comes to North America? Nowhere. So when they were on Midnight Special it was beyond great. Although sadly, it was before VCRs. But I was massively advanced for the time and had a cassette recorder with an external microphone and figured out where to position it from the TV speaker to get maximum saturation without distortion. I played that badboy 50 million times till the cassette totally wore out.
When Blinded came out and was a huge hit, people would say how good it was and how happy they were that this band I was madly into for was finally a hit, and I was like, Nooooo! I couldn’t STAND that radio song! It sounded like all the other Foreigner crap of the time. But when ya saw this — there was no bubblegum business pop band here.
For the second and even wilder song of their only American TV appearance, check them out covering another Springsteen song from Asbury Park right here.
Left to right: Dave Flett, lead guitar; Colin Pattenden, bass; Chris Slade, drums & vocals; Chris Thompson lead vocals, rhythm guitar; Manfred Mann keyboards, vocals.
Manfred Mann - Blinded by the Light
Midnight Special 1975
4 days 7 hours ago
|"Blinded by the Light"|
|Single by Bruce Springsteen|
|from the album Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.|
|Producer||Mike Appel, Jim Cretecos|
|Bruce Springsteen singles chronology|
|"Blinded by the Light"|
|Single by Manfred Mann's Earth Band|
|from the album The Roaring Silence|
|B-side||Starbird No. 2|
|Released||August 6, 1976|
|Recorded||1976, Workhouse Studios, London|
7:08 (album version)3:48 (single edit)
|Producer||Manfred Mann and Earth Band|
|Manfred Mann's Earth Band singles chronology|
"Blinded by the Light" is a song written and originally recorded by Bruce Springsteen, although it is mostly known by its 1976 #1 hit version recorded by Manfred Mann's Earth Band. It was released in the United Kingdom in August 1976, where it reached No. 6 in the BMRB charts.
The song came about when Columbia president Clive Davis, upon listening to an early version of Greetings from Asbury Park N.J., he felt the album lacked a potential single. Bruce wrote this and "Spirit in the Night" in response.
According to Springsteen, the song came about from going through a rhyming dictionary and looking for rhymes. The first line of the song, "Madman drummers, bummers, and Indians in the summers with a teenage diplomat" is autobiographical- "Madman drummers" is a reference to drummer Vini Lopez, known as "Mad Man" (later changed to "Mad Dog"); "Indians in the summer" refers to the name of Bruce's old Little League team; "teenage diplomat" refers to himself. The remainder of the song tells of many unrelated events, with the refrain of "Blinded by the light, cut loose like a deuce, another runner in the night".
"Blinded by the Light" was the first song on, and first single from, Bruce Springsteen's 1973 debut album Greetings from Asbury Park N.J. Springsteen's version was commercially unsuccessful and did not appear on the music charts.
The Earth Band's recording of the song features several changed lyrics. The most prominent change is in the chorus, where Springsteen's "cut loose like a deuce" is replaced with "revved up like a deuce." This is commonly misheard as "wrapped up like a douche (the V sound in "revved" is almost unpronounced, and the S sound in "deuce" comes across as "SH" due to a significant lisp)." Springsteen himself has joked about the controversy, claiming that it was not until Manfred Mann rewrote the song to be about a "feminine hygiene product" that it became popular.
Cover versions and reissues
Manfred Mann's Earth Band released a version of the song on their album The Roaring Silence. Their version includes the Chopsticks melody played on piano. The song reached #1 on both Billboard's Hot 100 and on the Canadian RPM chart on 19 February 1977. The Manfred Mann's Earth Band recording of "Blinded by the Light" is Springsteen's only Number 1 single as a songwriter on the Hot 100. In 2002, Danish act Funkstar Deluxe released its disco version of this song. In 2012, the song was covered by Tim Armstrong within his "Tim Timebomb" project.
A "jazzified" version can be found on Springsteen's Live in Dublin album, recorded with the Sessions Band.
The song is featured in the films Blow and Running with Scissors.
- Bruce Springsteen – vocals, electric guitar, bass, keyboards
- Vini "Mad Dog" Lopez – drums, backing vocals
- Clarence Clemons – saxophone, backing vocals
- David Sancious – organ
- Harold Wheeler – piano
Manfred Mann's Earth Band cover
- Manfred Mann – organ, piano, keyboards, backing vocals
- Colin Pattenden – bass
- Dave Flett – electric guitar
- Chris Hamlet Thompson – vocals, electric guitar
- Chris Slade – drums, backing vocals
- Doreen Chanter – backing vocals
- Irene Chanter – backing vocals
- Susanne Lynch – backing vocals
- ^ British Market Research Bureau
- ^ Buzzelli, Mike (2010-04-26). "Revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night". Observer-Reporter. Retrieved 2010-08-08. [dead link]
- ^ "VH1 Storytellers: Bruce Springsteen". Retrieved 2010-08-08.
- ^ The word deuce, in both the Springsteen and Earth Band versions, refers to a 1932 model Ford.
- ^ Search results for misheard lyrics at kissthisguy.com
- ^ Q: "Blinded By the Light, Revved Up Like a..." What? – Blogcritics Music at blogcritics.org
- ^ "Bruce Springsteen". VH1 Storytellers. Episode 62. 2005-04-23. VH1.
- "Blinded by the Light" lyrics from Bruce Springsteen's official site
- Lyrics and detailed info for various versions at SpringsteenLyrics.com
- Full lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics