A Mann and his music

Mar 2020 A Mann and his music

Backbeat: Manfred – the timeline

By Derek Mead

Manfred Mann was bom in 1940 and has been active as a UK musician from 1961.
1962 – 1963; Mann-Hugg Blues Brothers 1962 to 1963 then changed name to
1962 – 1969 Manfred Mann 1963 to 1969 during which time vocalists were Paul Jones 62-66 then Mike d’Abo 66-69 then split 1969.
1969 & 1970 Manfred Mann Chapter Three 1969 then Manfred Mann Chapter Three Volume Two 1970 – both Jazz Rock.
1971 – 1987 & 1991 – present Manfred Mann’s Earth Band 1971 – 1987 then 1987 – 1991 continued to present with same name.
1991 – present The Manfreds

In the beginning, Manfred Mann, (pictured right) bom October 21, 1940, in Transvaal South Africa, became a British musician – mainly keyboards and vocals – who gave his name to five bands from 1962 onwards, having escaped apartheid in his home country in 1961.

He was a jazz pianist in Johannesburg, then wrote for ‘Jazz News’ in the UK. Thre was then a rapid change to five- piece Mann-Hugg Blues Brothers, and a rapid change of name which provided a base for future musical and vocal activity with his name prevailing.

So next. there was simply Manfred Mann, formed in 1962 in London as an English rock band. Genres was rock – rhythm and blues – psychedelic pop – beat. Their active years were from 1962 until 1969 and the labels used were HMV -EMI – Capitol – Ascot – Fontana – Mercury.

So arrived the first great Manfred Mann era when their hit singles regularly appeared in The British Hit Singles Chart. The lead was shared between Paul Jones (January 1962 – July 1966 on the HMV label) and Mike d’Abo (August 1966 – April 1969 on the Fontana label). Firstly, Paul Jones – ‘5-4-3-2-1’ for ITV Ready Steady Go (5 in British Hit singles) – ‘Do Wah Diddy Diddy’ (1) – ‘Sha La La’ The Shirelles original (3) – ‘Oh No Not My Baby’ a Maxine Brown cover (11) – ‘If You Gotta Go, Go Now’ by Bob Dylan (2) – ‘Pretty Flamingo’ (the second number 1).

Then Mike d’Abo continued – ‘Just Like A Woman’ again by Bob Dylan (10) – ‘Semi-Detached, Suburban Mr James’ (2) – ‘Ha Ha Said The Clown’ (4) – ‘Mighty Quinn’ once again by Bob Dylan (the third No.1) – ‘My Name Is Jack’ (8) – ‘Fox On The Run’ (5).

Then came the 1969 split, caused by the image of the group considered by many to be a hit singles group only.

On the basis that in music a split must be followed without delay by a sequel, there then appeared Manfred Mann Chapter Three. This was a jazz rock band founded by Manfred Mann and Mike Hugg of the Mann Hugg Blues Brothers.

Its debut was on October 24, 1969 in Newcastle when it was supported by a five-piece brass section. The band released two studio albums Manfred Mann Chapter Three in 1969 and Manfred Mann Chapter Three Volume Two in 1970: but a third album was shelved. In total there appears to have been eight releases by the band – two albums, five singles/EPs, and one compilation. There also appears to have been25 appearances and two unofficial albums. See Manfred Mann Chapter Three Discography/Discogs. Genre was jazz-rock: active years were 1969 until 1970; the label was Vertigo Records.

Manfred Mann moved swiftly on to Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, formed in 1971, and destined for greater things. The new group followed the demise of Manfred Mann Chapter Three, in 1970. At first the band was called Manfred Mann as though a continuation of the 1960s group, and then re-formed briefly in the same name in June, 1963, for a 25th anniversary celebration.
In 1972, the band had also been called just Earth Band but, afterwards, the name of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band was permanently used. There was another problem in the late 1980s into the 1990s, but the band – to this day – performs and tours.

There had been a suggestion that the Manfred Mann group of the 1960s had been ‘soft pop’ and needed to become earthier in its reformed style. The band was founded in London. Genres were progressive rock – progressive metal – hard rock – heavy metal – jazz rock , all signs of an earthier group.

Active years were 1971 to 1987, 1991 to present day. Labels were Philips – Vertigo – Bronze – Warner Bros – Arista – Virgin- Kaz – Grapevine – Cohesion. So the group approached progressive rock and became involved in covers by modem artists such as Dylan and Springsteen. Mann himself became interested in English classical music, for example Jupiter from The Planets suite. Albums involved space and sci-fi and also social matters. Again, Mann himself became involved in anti apartheid and the troubles of ethnic groups. The 1970s albums were prominent and Springsteen’s ‘Blinded by the Light’ charted at No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in February 1977. In the 1980s, Mann was still active in the anti-apartheid movement and was banned from visiting South Africa, his home country.

So band members took his place recording African musicians. The Earth Band name was retired for four years from 1987 to 1991, when it was revived with a new line-up playing tracks by artists such as Paul Weller.

The line-up of the Earth Band has changed considerably from year-to-year, and many original albums have been released. Examples of singles by the group are ‘Joybringer’, a version of Jupiter movement from Planets Suite (No.9 in British Hit Singles) – ‘Blinded By The Light’ – (6) and ‘Davys On The Road Again’ (6).

Entries in British Hit Albums – ‘Semi Detached Suburban’ (9) and ‘The Roaring Silence’ (10) are prime examples. All of this, and so much more, is truly the second great Manfred Mann era,
The Manfreds, a pop group formed in London in 1991, as a reunion of members of Manfred Mann, the 1960s pop group, without keyboard player Manfred Mann himself, which meant that a different name was necessary. This group has also acted as a prompt for all former members namely Paul Jones (vocals/harmonica), Mike d’Abo (also with the New Amen Corner), (vocals/piano) Mike Hugg (keyboards).

Tom McGuinness, whose 50th birthday was the reason for the reunion and to support a Manfred Mann compilation (guitar), Mike Vickers, Rob Townsend (drums/percussion), Benny Gallagher (bass guitar), Marcus Cliffe (bass), Simon Currie (flute & sax).

In 1998/1999, 5-4-3-2-1 was re-released with later releases in 1999 (Live) 2000 (Maximum Manfreds) 2003 (Uncovered) 2014 (Let ’em Roll) 2017 (Makin’ Tracks).

The genres were Beat and R&B. The group was active from 1991 to the present. Its labels were BMG/Camden. Associated Acts were Manfred Mann – The Blues Band – McGuinness Flint. Past members were Benny Gallagher and Mike Vickers.

In addition to live performances they fulfilled their own commitments and toured to support Manfred Mann compilations in 2013-2014-2016 and also 2017 to support Makin’ Tracks with vocals from both Paul Jones and Mike d’Abo. In the 1990s, the group reunited to visit Europe and America.