Week of March 15, 1997

Manfred Mann's Earth Band

Mike Hugg - Drums
Manfred Mann - Keyboards
Colin Pattenden - Bass
Mick Rogers - Vocals, Guitar
Chris Slade - Drums
Chris Thompson - Vocals
Dave Flett - Guitar

Manfred Mann's Earth Band (Philips 6308 086) 1972
Glorified Magnified (Philips 6308 125) 1972
Messin' (Vertigo 6360 087) 1973
Solar Fire (Bronze ILPS 9265) 1973
The Good Earth (Bronze ILPS 9306) 1974
Nightingales And Bombers (Bronze ILPS 9337) 1975
The Roaring Silence (Bronze ILPS 9357) 1976
Watch - 1978
Angel Station - 1979
Chance - 1980
Somewhere in Afrika - 1982
Live in Budapest - 1983
Masque - 1985
Criminal Tango - 1986
Soft Vengeance - 1996

Albums were released on Polydor in the US and "Messin'" was entitled "Get Your Rocks Off" (Polydor 5050, 1973). Cohesion have reissued all of the above on CD along with a compilation, "20 Years Of"; "Manfred Mann's Earth Band 1971-1991" (Cohesion COMME 1 CD, 1991); a 13-CD collection, "Manfred Mann's Earth Band" (Cohesion MM Box, 1992) which came with a bonus CD featuring a 50-minute interview with Manfred Mann, a 40-page booklet of sleeve notes and a complete discography from 1971-1991. This must be the definitive statement of the band.

Remasters from Castle are about to see the light as well.

Meat/Glorified Magnified (Philips 6006 251) 1972
Get Your Rocks Off/Sadjoy (Vertigo 6059 078) 1973
Joybringer/Can't Eat Meat (Vertigo 6059 083) 1973
Father Of Day, Father Of Night/Solar Fire (Bronze BRO 9) 1974
Be Not Too Hard/Earth Hymn, Part 2A (Bronze BRO 13) 1974
Spirits In The Night/As Above, So Below, Part 2 (Bronze BRO 18) 1975
Blinded By The Light/Starbird (Bronze BRO 29) 1976
Questions/Waiter, There's A Yawn In My Ear (Bronze BRO 34) 1976

Mann formed this outfit in March 1972. Their first intended album, "Stepping Sideways", was scrapped although half of its intended tracks later appeared on their eponymous debut album, which attracted little attention at the time in the U.K., though it did climb to No.138 in the States, where the group enjoyed an early hit single with "Living Without You" (No.69).

"Glorified Magnified", which was full of incisive guitar riffs and frequent instrumental passages, represented a considerable advance on their debut effort. It was critically acclaimed but copies didn't shift in any considerable quantities. During 1973, they also toured the US and Europe extensively.

Their third album, "Messin'" was spearheaded by a Dylan cover, "Get Your Rocks Off", and in the US, where it climbed to No.196, this song name was used as the album title.

The first significant commercial breakthrough came when "Joybringer", which was based on "Jupiter" from Holst's "Planets Suite", took them into the Top 10. It remains a classic 45, and they were the first band granted permission by Holst's daughter to reinterpret the composer's music.

In April 1974, the group signed a new record contract with Bronze Records and rewarded them with their best album to date, "Solar Fire". Very much in the space rock mould, its highlight was yet another Dylan song, "Father Of Day, Father Of Night", which was turned into a nine-minute feast of moog and guitar riffs, superimposed by a lavish choir and melodramatic singers. In the UK, an edited version was also put out on 45. The album got to No.96 in the States.

"The Good Earth" wasn't as good as their previous two albums, though it still got to No.157 in the States, where the band had attracted quite a considerable following. The band came up with a pretty novel promotional scheme, though, whereby anybody who bought the album could remove the coupon on the inner sleeve to claim a square foot of land in Wales.

"Nightingales And Bombers" was their first album to include a cover version by emerging new US singer/songwriter Bruce Springsteen. In future years, they became notable for their Springsteen covers. The song in question on this album, the excellent "Spirits In The Night", was also put out as a 45 but failed to chart. After this album, Rogers departed to help form Aviator. He was replaced by vocalist Chris Thompson and Dave Flett on guitar.

The new line-up's first release was another Springsteen cover, "Blinded By The Light", which gave them a U.K. No.6 and a US No.1, becoming a million-seller. Another classic single, it also opened (in an extended version) their "Roaring Silence" album. In fact, it dominated the album, which also included a version of Mike Heron's "Singing The Dolphin Through" and five originals. Of these, Mann's "Waiter, There's A Yawn In My Ear", was a rather boring instrumental; whilst "The Road To Babylon" and "Starbird" utilised the 'heavenly choir' approach earlier used on "Father Of Day, Father Of Night". "This Side Of Paradise" was pretty standard progressive rock and "Questions", a soft keyboard-dominated meander. Mann had written "Starbird" and "Questions" with Chris Slade. The album got to No.10 in the U.K. (becoming their first U.K. Chart album) and in the US, giving them their only gold album.

The band lasted well beyond the time span of this book, until 1987 in fact (and has been resurrected in 1996 for the excellent comeback album, "Soft Vengeance" - ed.)

Back in 1973, they had one track, "Buddah", included on the Vertigo compilation, "Suck It And See". In 1977, a Bronze promotional compilation, "The New Bronze Age", included edited versions of "Blinded By The Light", "Father Of Day, Father Of Night", "Spirits In The Night" and "Be Not Too Hard".

Also of interest may be a four-track 12" white label promo, which previewed their "Roaring Silence" album and is now hard to track down. Whilst he was with the band, Manfred Mann wrote the music score to a film called 'Swedish Fly Girls' (Juno S-1003) 1975. The soundtrack was only released in the States.

Taken from The Tapestry of Delights - The Comprehensive Guide to British Music of the Beat, R&B, Psychedelic and Progressive Eras 1963-1976, Vernon Joynson
ISBN 1 899855 04 1

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