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Sonic Diversity by an Eccentric Mozart

 

How Amadeus mighta sounded with a synthesizer. 

 

In 1970, Rolling Stone quoted Manfred describing his music as "the kind rock snobs call jazz and jazz snobs call rock."  

 


This is fully scored music, with a great diversity of style, instrumentation, and human voices. The style ranges from heavy metal thunder to ethereal classically-based instrumentals — and all with a joyous melodic sensibility.

 

Manfred Mann formed the Earth Band in 1971 after a long and ridiculously successful solo career — 16 hit singles Britain alone — including “Do Wah Diddy Diddy,” “The Mighty Quinn,” “Pretty Flamingo,” and “5–4–3–2–1” which also became the theme song for Ready Steady Go!. I mean, “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” knocked The Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night” out of #1 in the U.K.

 

Most guys start in a band, and then go solo. But Manfred’s so bass-ackwards — he’s got the world by the golden singles, an’ wha-duz-he-do . . . naturally, he gets his own TV show, cashes in on the British Invasion in America, moves to LA, marries a blond, and goes on never-ending “farewell” tours. Oh no wait, that’s everybody else. This crazy South African-born muthrfuka, forms an avant-garde funk / jazz / heavy rock / synthesizer pop band, going as anti-Gerry and The Pacemakers as you can, becoming The Band of the U.K., in natural clothes, hair down to here, and playing multi-genre Earth music.

 

In fact, Mann was way ahead of the environmental curve.  Not only does he call his band the Earth Band in 1971, but many songs on every album are songs of the Earth.

 

Other than one extensive tour in 1974, the band only did a total 24 shows in North America in the entire Earth Band’s 40 year history — and not one since 1978.

 

If there’s an artist out there who covered Bob Dylan more than Manfred Mann, I’d like to know their name.  And of all the artists who covered Bawb, none have done so more interestingly and more successfully than Manfred Mann . . .

 

Quit Your Low Down Ways
Just Like a Woman
The Mighty Quinn
  
If You Gotta Go, Go Now
Get Your Rocks Off
Father of Night, Father of Day
Please Mrs. Henry
You Angel You
It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue


Live: Shelter From The Storm

Times They Are A Changin'

 

In fact, in Dylan's first fully televised press conference in SF in December 1965 he was asked who does his songs the most justice when covering them, and he answered point-blank, "Manfred Mann."

 

Some other notable artists MM's interpreted:

 

Lennon & McCartney, Leiber & Stoller, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Elvis Costello, Paul WellerThe Police, Gary Wright, Carole King, Neil Diamond, Joan Armatrading, Randy Newman, Dr. John, Robert Cray, Gustov Holst’s orchestral suites, and loads of others.

 

And if others quotes are a guide, I bet a lot of them would tell ya they liked Manfred’s arrangement more than their own.

He never covered a song — he rearranged them into anthems.


Some notable TV appearances:

 

Rockpalast 2000 is the best of the post-70s material — maybe the best all-round show caught on camera — a wholly evolved holy orchestra — with Mann reunited with his original lead guitarist and vocalist Mick Rogers.

 

There’s a typically transformational interpretation of Neil Young’s Don’t Let It Bring you Down, which their completely re-done version is called Castles Burning.
And then there’s a chilling, uplifting Dylan’s Shelter From The Storm.
And if you like that, check out his rather expansive Father of Night, from Bob’s New Morning.
Or maybe Bob Marley’s Redemption Song.
Or The Police’s Demolition Song.
Or The Whatever Others’ I Can’t Believe They Do This Song.

 

And of course there’s the classic Midnight Special in ’76 where they laid down Blinded By The Light and Spirits in The Night for North American audiences.

 

Then there’s an outstanding show outside the Stockholm Museum in ’73 where they do a Captain Bobby Stout that sails into Gregorian Chants.

 

Or this crazy rare early haunting jazzy riff-intensive “Buddha” from 1974 on the Musikladen show outta Germany. 

 

Or you can hear how the sixties hit-single artist evolved his classic "Mighty Quinn" into the orchestral jazz-rock playground he always heard in his head.  

 

Just for a laugh, and to see how far he really was from his Monkees of the sixties, check out this ridiculous lip-synched version of Quinn from the Beat-Club in '68.  


There’s also an interesting show from Austria in ’79 that captures that era, as long as you can live through some fairly vague video.

 

After watching any amount of this, the question arises — where's the double-live Manfred Mann album??

 

And another question — for all the times The Grateful Dead auditioned new keyboard players – what if Manfred Mann had been in town?  Bruce Hornsby sure fit in nice.  I can't think of a better symphonic keyboard improvising mind that would have accented the Dead's musical setting than this multi-colored soul brother.  

 

For a full list of all the band’s TV appearances, check this fairly complete and official list.

 

There have been five commercial DVD releases of MM'sEB, and they can all be found here . . .  

 

http://www.cd-warehouse.com/acatalog/dvd_s.html

 

 

Retrieved from Wikipedia:
Manfred Mann's Earth Band on Wikipedia
Manfred Mann's Earth Band
ManfredMannsEarthBand2.JPGManfred Mann's Earth Band in concert
Background information
OriginLondon, England
GenresProgressive rock, progressive metal, hard rock, heavy metal, jazz rock
Years active1971–present
LabelsPhilips, Vertigo, Bronze, Warner Bros., Arista, Virgin, Kaz, Grapevine, Cohesion
Websitewww.manfredmann.co.uk
MembersManfred Mann
Mick Rogers
Steve Kinch
John Lingwood
Robert Hart
Past membersSee: Manfred Mann's Earth Band Personnel

Manfred Mann's Earth Band are an English rock band formed by South African musician Manfred Mann. The band's hits include covers of Bruce Springsteen's "For You", "Blinded by the Light" and "Spirit In The Night". After forming in 1971 and despite a short hiatus in the late 1980s/early 1990s, the Earth Band has continued to perform and tour through the present.

Contents

  • 1 History
    • 1.1 Formation
    • 1.2 Themes
    • 1.3 1970s
    • 1.4 1980s
    • 1.5 Recent years
  • 2 Personnel
    • 2.1 Timeline
  • 3 Discography
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links

Formation

Mann started in the 1960s with the self-titled British invasion band that had such hits as "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" and "The Mighty Quinn" and then moved on to jazz fusion-inspired Manfred Mann Chapter Three before forming the Earth Band in 1971. In his 2003 biography, Klaus Voormann, former member of original Manfred Mann group and Beatles-associate, is alleged to have inspired the Earth Band's name by having suggested several times throughout the 1960s that Mann's soft pop style of those days had to become "earthier" and rockier, not least of all because of the seemingly effeminate image of Mann's earlier band which had led to a number of close encounters with violence, particularly in Ireland.[1] According to the officially approved version however, the name was chosen on suggestion of drummer Chris Slade in September 1971 and is related to the ecological movement ongoing at the time.[2]

The original line-up consisted of Mick Rogers (guitar and vocals), Manfred Mann (organ, synthesizer and vocals), Colin Pattenden (bass guitar) and Chris Slade (drums and vocals). In its very earliest stages, the band was simply billed as "Manfred Mann" and thus a continuation of the 1960s group. The quartet released their first single, "Please Mrs. Henry", in 1971. Their second single, Randy Newman's "Living Without You," was also released by "Manfred Mann" in Europe, but by "Manfred Mann's Earth Band" in the USA, where the track became a minor chart hit. On two non-charting single releases in the UK in 1972/73, the group was billed simply as "Earth Band", but otherwise, from 1972 forward "Manfred Mann's Earth Band" was the band name used on all releases. The membership of the Earth Band was stable between 1971 and 1976, during which time they released their first six albums.

Themes

The Earth Band combines the stylistic approach of progressive rock with Mann's jazz-influenced Moog synthesizer playing and keen ear for melody. Beside producing their own material, a staple of the band's music and live performances from the beginning has been also relying on covers of songs by other modern pop/rock artists, notably Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, in their progressive rock style.

Mann's interest in English 20th century classical music saw him adapt Gustav Holst's Planets Suite and turn a version of the "Jupiter" movement into a UK hit entitled Joybringer (included on the 1973 album Solar Fire). Other classical music adaptations include "Questions" off the 1976 album The Roaring Silence (which is based on the main theme of Franz Schubert's Impromptu in G flat Major), "Solar Fire is in Earth, the Circle, Pt. 1" (which uses the melody from Claude Debussy's Jimbo's Lullaby), and "Starbird" also off 1976's The Roaring Silence (which is based upon Igor Stravinski's ballet The Firebird).

The title song to 1973's Messin' (written by Mike Hugg and originally recorded by 'Chapter Three' on their unissued third album), as well as most of the album The Good Earth tapped into ecological concerns, a recurring theme in Mann's music in later years, with The Good Earth giving away a free gift of a piece of land in Wales with each album sold. Like other prog-rock acts, the band also issued concept albums on space and sci-fi themes (particularly the album Solar Fire and the singles "Launching Place" off The Good Earth and "Starbird" off The Roaring Silence) and religious or biblical imagery ("Prayer" on the band's debut album, "Buddah" on Messin', Dylan's "Father of Day, Father of Night" and "In the Beginning, Darkness" on Solar Fire, "The Road to Babylon" and "This Side of Paradise" on The Roaring Silence, "Resurrection" on Angel Station).

Social criticism was also addressed ("Black and Blue" on Messin' dealt particularly with slavery, and "Chicago Institute" on Watch with mental institutions and science as a mean of social control); a trend which grew throughout the 1980s, with songs such as Lies (through the 80s) on technological progress vs. social setbacks on Chance, and with Mann's growing involvement with the anti-apartheid movement which was featured in the 1982 album Somewhere in Afrika. Mann's intention for acknowledgement of oppressed ethnic groups also influenced the 1992 album Plains Music which featured traditional Native American music.

1970s

The group's sixth album, 1975's Nightingales and Bombers, took its title from a World War II naturalist's recording of a nightingale singing in a garden as warplanes flew overhead; the recording appears in a track on the album (the US version included an extra track, a cover of Bob Dylan's; 'Quit Your Low Down Ways' sung by Mick Rogers).

The U.S. breakthrough for the band came in the third week of February 1977, when they charted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with a cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Blinded by the Light" from The Roaring Silence. Before this hit, Mick Rogers had left the band (after the 'Nightingales And Bombers' album of 1975) and Chris Thompson (lead vocals, guitar) and Dave Flett (Lead guitar, backing vocals) had been quickly recruited to replace Rogers (although Rogers still contributed backing vocals to the album). While the Springsteen original from 1973's Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. has a folky, acoustic sound, the Earth Band's version is driving rock, combining Mann's Moog synthesizer and organ work with Flett's guitar.

The Roaring Silence also featured a guest appearance by jazz saxophonist Barbara Thompson, and Watch included two stand-out recordings from the band's live performances of "Davy's on the Road Again" and "Mighty Quinn". Taking advantage of the publicity of their hit song, the band re-released another Springsteen song, "Spirit in the Night", which the band had released the previous year on Nightingales & Bombers in a vocally re-cut version with Chris Thompson taking a new lead vocal in place of Mick Rogers vocal on the original album version. Following this popular success, the Earth Band released Watch which produced another hit single in "Davy's on the Road Again".

1980s

Drummer Chris Slade and Dave Flett left before 1979's Angel Station. Flett was replaced by guitarist Steve Waller, who shared lead vocals with Thompson. Geoff Britton played drums on the album but was soon replaced by John Lingwood, due to illness. 1980's Chance showed a move towards a more electronic approach and produced several cuts that were hits in the UK and/or saw significant airplay in both the US and UK. The songs "Lies (All Through The 80's) sung by Thompson," "Stranded," and "For You" (another Springsteen song sung by Thompson) still. Trevor Rabin (a fellow South African and London session musician) guested on the album.

By this time Mann had become personally active in the international anti-apartheid movement and was banned from entering his home country of South Africa. Undeterred, members of the band made journeys to South Africa to record African musicians for the album Somewhere in Afrika (which in some ways pre-figured Paul Simon's Graceland). The album included a cover of The Police's "Demolition Man" (sung by Steve Waller) and a version of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song".

In 1984, the band issued the single "Runner", a cover of the song by Ian Thomas, featuring Thompson on lead vocals and Mick Rogers on backing vocals. The song was a non-LP single in the UK but was included on the US release of Somewhere in Afrika. It was a top 40 hit in both Canada and the US and was used during ABC's broadcasting of the 1984 Summer Olympics and in the film The Philadelphia Experiment. It was their first hit since "Blinded By The Light" and was the band's final US/UK chart single. In 1986, Thompson exited the group and Mick Rogers returned with both appearing on the album Criminal Tango. For 1987's Masque album, the band consisted solely of Mann, Rogers, and drummer John Lingwood. Shortly thereafter, the Earth Band name was retired for a number of years.

Recent years

Manfred Mann's Earth Band was revived in the early 1990s and resumed recording, covering tracks by artists as varied as Paul Weller, Robert Cray, Del Amitri, and The Lovin' Spoonful. Mann has also released solo projects including Plains Music, which was based on Native American music, and 2006, which includes collaborations with the German rapper Thomas D and tracks featuring the music of, amongst others, the Super Furry Animals. The Earth Band has had a fluctuating line-up, with Mann the only constant. The current lineup includes both Manfred Mann and Mick Rogers.

Most of the band's original albums have been re-released in recent years and a 4-CD set (Odds & Sods - Mis-takes & Out-takes) featuring many previously unissued versions of tracks was released in August 2005. This includes material from the unreleased (and thought to be lost) Manfred Mann Chapter III Volume 3 album and the first Earth Band album, Stepping Sideways. The fourth CD in the package includes both unreleased studio material and live performances.

December 2006 saw the release of the DVD Unearthed 1973-2005 The Best of Manfred Mann's Earth Band. This features twenty tracks ranging from three recorded in Sweden in 1973 ("Father of Day," "Captain Bobby Stout," and "Black & Blue") to a 2005 performance of "Mighty Quinn." Also included are animations used during the band's live performances of the late 1970s and early 1980s and promo films (including two tracks from the Plains Music album).

In 2007, two separate dance remixes of Bruce Springsteen songs as performed by Manfred Mann's Earth Band entered the Austrian Charts. The first was a remix of "Blinded by the Light", which was credited to Michael Mind featuring Manfred Mann's Earth Band. The second was a remix of "For You", credited to The Disco Boys featuring Manfred Mann's Earth Band. Also in 2007, the 1983 Budapest concert was released in DVD format and included tracks not previously available. In 2008, the band released the Watch DVD which includes footage from a 1979 Austrian concert.[3]

Personnel

Current members
  • Manfred Mann – keyboards and vocals
  • Mick Rogers – guitar and vocals
  • Steve Kinch – bass guitar
  • Robert Hart – vocals
Former members
  • Chris Slade – drums
  • Colin Pattenden – bass
  • Chris Thompson – vocals and guitar
  • Dave Flett – guitar
  • Pat King – bass
  • Steve Waller – guitar and vocals
  • Geoff Britton – drums
  • John Lingwood – drums
  • Trevor Rabin – guitar, producer
  • Matt Irving – bass
  • Shona Laing – vocals
  • Noel McCalla – vocals
  • Clive Bunker – drums
  • John Trotter[4] – drums
  • Richard Marcangelo – drums
  • Pete May – drums
  • Geoff Dunn – drums
  • Jimmy Copley – drums and percussion
  • Peter Cox – vocals

Timeline

Discography

For a detailed listing see Manfred Mann's Earth Band discography.
  • Manfred Mann's Earth Band (1972)
  • Glorified Magnified (1972)
  • Messin' (1973)
  • Solar Fire (1973)
  • The Good Earth (1974)
  • Nightingales & Bombers (1975)
  • The Roaring Silence (1976)
  • Watch (1978)
  • Angel Station (1979)
  • Chance (1980)
  • Somewhere in Afrika (1983)
  • Criminal Tango (1986)
  • Masque (1987)
  • Soft Vengeance (1996)
  • Manfred Mann 2006 (2004)

References

  1. ^ Klaus Voormann, Warum spielst du Imagine nicht auf dem weißen Klavier, John? Erinnerungen an die Beatles und viele andere Freunde ("Why Don't You Play Imagine on the White Piano, John?: Memories of the Beatles and Many Other Friends"), Heyne 2003. ISBN 3-453-87313-0
  2. ^ Greg Russo, Mannerisms - The five phases of Manfred Mann (Revised Edition), Crossfire Publications, 2011, ISBN 978-0-9791845-2-9, p.121
  3. ^ "Manfred Mann". ClassicBands.com. Classic Bands. Retrieved 2 May 2015. 
  4. ^ John Trotter. "John Trotter - Drummer". Johntrotterdrums.com. Retrieved 2014-06-25. 

External links

  • Manfred Mann's Earth Band official website
  • BBC Review of Manfred Mann's Earthband at The Stables, Wavendon, September 2006
   

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