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Famous Like Me > Composer > M > Manfred Mann

Profile of Manfred Mann on Famous Like Me

Name: Manfred Mann  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 21st October 1940
Place of Birth: Johannesburg, South Africa
Profession: Composer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Manfred Mann was a British R&B and pop band of the 1960s, named after the keyboard player.

Manfred Mann himself was originally named Manfred Lubowitz (born October 21, 1940). Born in South Africa, he originally formed the band in 1962, with his friend Mike Hugg, but both took a background role in live performances. The lead vocalist and undoubted star of the band in the early years was Paul Jones (later a successful actor). With Jones fronting, they had number one hits in the U.K. with their cover version of the Exciters' "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" and with "Pretty Flamingo". When Jones left in 1966 at the height of their fame, he was replaced by Mike D'Abo, and this was one of the few occasions when a band has successfully swapped lead singers and remained at the top.

No Living Without Loving'
The One In the Middle

With D'Abo as vocalist, they enjoyed several more hits, including a number one with Bob Dylan's "Mighty Quinn" in 1968. They split up in the following year.

Manfred Mann went on to write advertising jingles after the group's demise, but also continued to work in the group format. Initially he formed Manfred Mann Chapter Three, an experimental group who evolved into Manfred Mann's Earth Band. The Earth Band were, from a pop perspective, almost deliberately contrary, but combined the stylistic approach of progressive rock with Mann's keen ear for melody. Mann's interest in English twentieth century classical music saw him plunder Holst's Planets Suite, garnering an unlikely UK hit with a version of Jupiter that had lyrics added and entitled 'Joybringer'. 1973's 'The Good Earth' album tapped into ecological concerns, a recurring theme in Mann's music in later years, and had a free gift of a piece of land in Wales with each album sold. The membership of the Earth Band was relatively informal; Mick Rogers originally performed lead guitar and lead vocal duties before being replaced by Chris Thompson on Vocals and Dave Flett on guitar. Mann's perfectionism meant that albums frequently came out with different track listings in different territories, or in alternative versions. The breakthrough for the band in the US was when they had a number 1 hit with Bruce Springsteen's "Blinded By The Light"). While the Springsteen version from 1973's Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. album has a folky, acoustic sound, the Manfred Mann's Earth Band version is driving rock, combining Mann's Moog and organ work with, on the album version, a superb guitar solo from Flett. Manfred can be heard singing at the end of Blinded By The Light, in the round, with Thompson - it was this feature of the song that initially attracted him. The band took advantage of the publicity and re-released another Springsteen song, Spirits in The Night, which had been recorded the previous year on Nightingales and Bombers, originally with Rogers on vocals althugh for some territories it was re-recorded with a vocal from Thompson.

In retrospect it's easy to see Nightingales and Bombers, The Roaring Silence and Watch as the highlight of the Earth Band's achievement; Watch produced another hit single in 'Davy's On The Road Again', and the albums were innovative and original despite the dependence on covers of other artists songs. Nightingales and Bombers took its title from a World War Two naturalists recording of a nightingale singing in a garden as warplanes flew overhead; the recording appears in a track on the album. Roaring Silence featured a guest appearance by jazz saxophonist Barbara Thompson, and Watch included two stand out recordings from the bands live performances of 'Davy's On The Road Again' and 'Mighty Quinn'.

Flett left before 1979's Angel Station to be replaced by Steve Waller, sharing the vocal duties with Thompson who was also intent on pursuing a solo career. 1980's 'Chance' didn't reach previous heights, and showed a move towards a more electronic approach. Manfred became very active in the international anti-apartheid movement, and was banned from entering South Africa, the country in which he had been born. Instead members of the band made journeys to South Africa to record AFrican musicians for the album 'Somewhere in Afrika', pre-figuring Paul Simon's Gracelands. The album included Demolition Man and a great version of Bob Marley's Redemption Song, which remains in the band's set today. American versions of the album also included 'The Runner', whose video had immages of the Munich and Montreal Olympic Games and which enjoyed much airtime in the run up to the Los Angeles Olympics.

The Earth Band have continued recording to the present day, covering tracks by artists as varied as Paul Weller, Robert Cray, Del Amitri and The Lovin' Spoonful. Manfred has also released a solo project, Plains Music, based on Native American music, and his latest album, 2006, includes collaborations with the German rapper Thomas D, and tracks featuring the music of, amongst others, the Super Furry Animals. The Earth Band remain active live in Europe, with a line up that includes both Manfred Mann and Mick Rogers. Most of the band's albums have been released in recent years and a 4CD set featuring many previously unissued versions of tracks has now been released (Aug 2005). This includes material from the unreleased (and thought to be lost) MM ChapterIII Volume 3 album and the first MMEB album Stepping Sideways. CD4 includes both unreleased studio material and live material (including Pleasure & Pain, SOS and Castles Burning).

Instrumental Asylum

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Manfred Mann