Manfred Mann

On this day in 1940, Michael Lubowitz, better known as Manfred Mann, was born in

Johannesburg, South Africa. Mann first became known as the leader of his self-titled

British Invasion band and then had chart success with Manfred Mann's Earth Band.

Manfred Mann came together as the Mann-Hugg Blues Brothers (named after Mann and

drummer Mike Hugg) at a holiday camp in Essex, England, in 1962. The following year,

a producer renamed the band after the jazz-loving Mann, and it signed with EMI's HMV

imprint. Manfred Mann's debut single was 1963's "Why Should We Not?"

The band's original singer was Paul Jones, who appeared on its early R&B recordings.

Manfred Mann first became famous, though, with a pop song -- a cover of the Exciters'

"Do Wah Diddy Diddy," which went to #1 in both the U.S. and the U.K. Another hit

followed with a remake of the Shirelles' "Sha La La."

In 1965, Manfred Mann enjoyed a U.K. hit with the Bob Dylan-composed "If You Gotta

Go, Go Now." Singer Mike D'Abo and the Beatles' friend from Hamburg, Germany,

bassist Klaus Voorman, joined Manfred Mann the following year. Also in 1966, the band

had a U.K. hit with Dylan's "Just Like a Woman." During this era, Manfred Mann delved

into soul and jazz on such albums as Mann Made (1965) and Soul of

Mann (1967). Future Cream-bassist Jack Bruce joined for a spell.

Manfred Mann hit the top of the British chart and the U.S. top-10 in 1968 with yet another

Dylan song, "The Mighty Quinn." Other U.K. hits with D'Abo included "Semi-Detached

Suburban Mr. James" (1966).

In 1969, Mann disbanded the band to form Manfred Mann Chapter Three with Hugg.

This group veered toward jazz-rock and never caught on with the public. Mann's '70s

group was Manfred Mann's Earth Band, which played a synthesizer-heavy brand of

pop-rock.

The Earth Band's The Roaring Silence (1976) made the top 10 on both sides of

the Atlantic, primarily because of the #1 U.S./top-10 U.K. hit, Bruce Springsteen's

"Blinded By The Light." In 1977, the band had an American top-40 hit with Springsteen's

"Spirit In The Night." The following year, it scored in Britain with "Davy's On The Road

Again," co-written by the Band's Robbie Robertson.

In 1983, the Earth Band issued Somewhere In Africa, a concept album about

Mann's home country. The band broke up three years later. In 1991, Mann released the

New-Age album, Manfred Mann's Plains Music.

Last year, the Earth Band re-formed and issued Soft Vengeance. They released

the live Mann Alive! earlier this year and are now touring.

Other birthdays: Norman Wright (Del Vikings), 61; Steve Cropper (Booker T. and the

MG's), 57; Ron Elliot (Beau Brummels), 55; Lee Loughnane (Chicago), 52; Tetsu

Yamauchi (Free/Faces), 51; Charlotte Caffey (Go-Go's), 45; Eric Faulkner (Bay City

Rollers), 43; Julian Cope (Teardrop Explodes), 41; and Steve Lukather (Toto), 41.