In Defense takes a 2nd look in ~ a lot maligned covering artist or album and also asks, “Was it really as poor as all that?”


The iconic key-board intro, the rattle that the high-hat, and also then Bruce Springsteen’s immortal words, “Blinded by the Light.” only it’s not Bruce singing: it’s kris Thompson, lead singer the Manfred Mann’s planet Band, covering the an initial track indigenous Springsteen’s 1973 debut album Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.

You are watching: Who sang blinded by the light

If you review Cover Me’s list of top Springsteen covers, published yesterday, girlfriend were more than likely either shocked, or relieved, not to check out it top top the list. I was even an ext surprised the it got rejected for inclusion. That is, after all, the only Springsteen-penned track to reach the number one spot on Billboard. (Editor’s note: i couldn’t think it either, yet it’s true – three #5s, two #2s, no various other #1s.) I discovered absolutely no referrals to it on compilations that worst all-time covers. So instead of penning a straightforward paragraph for the list explaining why the a heavy cover, “with a boulder on my shoulder” I created this article instead.

Manfred Mann is the phase name of southern African rocker Manfred Sepse Lubowitz. The earth Band was actually the third group come bear his name. The very first incarnation, named merely Manfred Mann, scored hits v covers: 1964’s “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” and also 1968’s “The Mighty Quinn.” The original team disbanded, yet Mann himself later founded Manfred Mann Chapter 3 in the late ’60s, climate Manfred Mann’s earth Band in the beforehand ’70s. Legions of rock fans more than likely would have never heard of, or also thought about, “Blinded by the Light” had the team not spanned it. In the pre-Internet age, many civilization did not understand that the earth Band variation was a cover because they had no means of discovering there to be an original.

Springsteen an initial released the track on his 1973 album Greetings native Asbury Park, N.J. While taken into consideration a classic amongst rock critics and hardcore fans, the album never ever sold particularly well through Springsteen’s standards. That took five years to walk gold (500,000 systems sold) and eighteen year to walk platinum (1 million units). The second milestone is probably because of the reality that that was very first released top top CD in the U.S. In 1988 and also many vinyl owners just rebought it. Uneven you had this album, yes sir probably tiny chance girlfriend heard the initial “Blinded by the Light,” as radio offered it tiny airplay and Columbia documents didn’t include it on any compilations or live albums till 2003. Even if you observed Springsteen live in concert, odds space you could not have heard that play the either, as perform it as his 140th many played tune.

The just reason the track exists is the after Springsteen completed the album, Columbia chairman Clive Davis garbage it, speak there were no fight singles. Therefore Springsteen wrote both “Blinded by the Light” and also “Spirit in the Night.” indigenous the lofty vantage suggest of history, Davis’ instructions would certainly prove vital for Springsteen’s career, despite it did not an increase the album’s early stage sales. When “Spirit in the Night” would go on to become a clip of Sprinsteen’s live sets, “Blinded through the Light” flopped when released together a single. According to rojo Stone, “So couple of copies of the were marketed at the time, in fact, the stock duplicates of the initial 45 are now among the rarest and most sought-after items in his extensive discography.”

Lack of advertising success does not diminish the top quality of the track – it’s simply not a radio-friendly arrangement. The Springsteen initial comes throughout like a hybrid that Bob Dylan’s currently of consciousness ramblings and very early rock n’ roll track from another dimension. Springsteen famously composed the lyrics through a rhyming thesaurus on hand, which describes why lock read favor an practice in indigenous association. The song attributes a litany of phrases every strung with each other in a mind-bending collection of rhymes. “And now in Zanzibar a shootin’ star to be ridin’ in a sidecar hummin’ a lunar tune/ Yes, and also the avatar claimed blow the bar but an initial remove the cookie jug we’re gonna teach those boys to laugh as well soon.” if explaining the words to the audience throughout an episode of VH1’s Storytellers, Springsteen cautioned them, “Don’t overthink the whole thing.”

The Manfred Mann cover had an entirely different trajectory. Warner Brothers released it as the opened track come the group’s 1976 album The Roaring Silence. The band turned the track into a seven-minute, prog-rock-flavored epic, featuring multiple movements and also sections and also Thompson’s soaring vocals. There’s additionally a three-minute single edit, yet the album version is much superior, v a almost two-minute etc solo and, many notably, the famed piano practice “Chopsticks.”

After reaching the number one spot on Billboard in 1977, the cover ended up being a staple of classic rock radio in the ensuing decades, providing it a near-endless 2nd life. If there’s any type of lingering controversy around the song, it’s due to the fact that when Thompson sang words “deuce,” it sound a lot favor “douche.” I think about this to be a symptom that the pre-Internet age, once we can not Google lyrics to discover out what world were saying. Therefore the tune earned a place alongside “’Scuse me while i kiss this guy” or “No thought orgasm in the classroom” as among rock’s good mondegreens. Both Springsteen and also Mann have acknowledged the the lyrical misunderstanding more than likely spurred on the cover’s popularity. “I have a feeling that is why the song skyrocketed come number one,” Springsteen said on Storytellers.

Alas, the old saying “the reason scholastic arguments space so cook is over there is nothing in ~ stake” ring true here. For this reason while “Blinded by the Light” can not it is in the best Springsteen cover, it is definitely one the the many important, and also to my mind, it should have been on covering Me’s optimal Springsteen covers list. Hear to the below and tell us what girlfriend think.

See more: How Many Elements Are Gaseous At Room Temperature ? What Are The 7 Diatomic Elements

Cover Me is currently on Patreon! If you love sheathe songs, us hope you will consider supporting us there v a little monthly subscription. There room a bunch of exclude, perks just for patrons: playlists, newsletters, downloads, discussions, polls - hell, tell united state what tune you would favor to listen covered and we will make the happen. Learn an ext at Patreon.