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
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.