Monday, 7 January 2008

Lyrics & their meaning Part 4- Blinded by the light

This continuing story of song lyrics and there meaning in some of the worlds best loved songs.
Who are they really kidding?


Blinded by The Light first recorded by Bruce Springsteen and the E street Band in 1972 , was ignored by the record buying public when released as the first single from his debut album Greetings from Ashbury Park. As a matter of fact the album wasn’t very successful at all selling only 50,00 copies on fist release. It eventually went gold when Spingsteen’s popularity surged after 1975’s Born To Run and more so after the mega sales of the Born In The U.S.A album.
Manfred Mann 60’s pop star, leader and keyboardist for the Earth Band was obviously a huge fan of the Greetings album. He recorded three songs from it.
Spirit in the night on the1975 Nightingales & Bombers album, BBTL in 1976 and For You on The Chance album in 1980.
Manfred Manns version of the song was a world wide hit and making it Springsteen's first USA No.1.
It is interesting to note that Springsteen’s reaction to the cover version: according to his manager Mike Appel was “he held up his nose with his fingers and I agreed with him. It stunk”
Manfred Manns Earth Band (MMEB) has been credited in giving the attention to Spingsteen which he deserved and kick starting his huge popularity. Manfred Mann was renowned for his ability to rework other people songs most of his career. His covers of Dylan songs such as The Mighty Quinn & You Angel You were also international hits.
Even though Manfred Manns Earth Bands version is the most popular, to use it as a guide to what the song is really about would be futile as MMEB actually changed some of the words and only used some of the verses, with those also being out of sequence. To put a finer point to it MMEB reworked the song to the point were they could have left Spingsteen’s name off the writing credits.
The critics and fans alike have ignored the song when it comes to its status of all time Springsteen favourites.
Even in his un-authorised autobiography; Springsteen Point Blank author Christopher Sandford notes when reviewing Spingsteen's first album wrote “ Greetings in fact, bowed with just a crassly leaden Dylan lark (Blinded by the light)....and then went onto to be wordy"
That line being the only reference to the song in the whole book.
Bruce Springsteen had written a metered rhyme that somehow tries to explain life on the entertainment area around the beach and fair ground of Ashbury Park New Jersey. Manfred Mann had transformed it into a cleverly crafted pop song where the words are part of the production.
Prior to the release of Ashbury Park, Springsteen was touted as a new Dylan which leads to the theory that Bruce was trying a bit too hard to be a poet as opposed to a lyricist and crammed as many syllables into the verse similar to Samual Taylor Colerige’s Kubla Kahn or T S Elliot’s’ Waste Lands or still some of Bob Dylans free form moments. Spingsteen never attempted anything like BBTL again on any scale.

©Shidot Prod. 2003

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