Guide to British Music of the 1960s

 

Manfred Mann

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Manfred Mann - keyboards, Paul Jones - vocal/harmonica, Mike Vickers - guitar/saxophone/flute, Dave Richmond - bass, Mike Hugg  drums

South African Manfred Mann formed the Mann Hugg Blues Brothers with Graham Bond in 1962. They brought in Jones (Paul Pond) and Dave Richmond and played jazz and blues around the London clubs. They changed their name The Blues Brothers and then to Manfred Mann & the Manfreds, later dropping the second part of the name and gigging as Manfred Mann. After signing to His Master's Voice they released their first single, an instrumental called Why Should We Not. After bringing in Jones on vocals, the second single Cock a Hoop was released. The first two singles failed to chart before the group had a massive hit with 5-4-3-2-1 written by Manfred Mann, Mike Hugg and Paul Jones. This song was effectively commissioned by John Blyton from Associated Rediffusion as the theme tune for the new Friday evening pop show Ready Steady Go. The exposure helped the single reachd number five in the charts. At this stage Dave Richmond left the group to be replaced on bass by Tom McGuinness. McGuinness had previously played with Casey Jones & the Engineers, a band that also included Eric Clapton at one point.

The follow-up Hubble Bubble Toil & Trouble was a smaller hit with its Macbeth reference and the group came under record company pressure to release singles written by outside songwriters rather than by group members. Greenwich & Barry, the well-known songwriting team from the Brill Building in New York provided the next single Do Wah Diddy Diddy. The song was already in the band's live repertoire as they knew the Exciters' version. The more commercial track reached the top of the charts and this was followed by another cover version, the Shirelles' Sha La La.

The group's first album The Five Faces of Manfred Mann saw a return to the blues roots with hints of jazz and was quite different to what had been in the charts. This was a mix of cover versions and originals written by members of the band. A similar approach was taken with the second LP, Mann Made although the latter showed a wider divergence of styles. While Manfred Mann were at the forefront of the British Blues Boom of the mid-1960s, their single hits remained cover versions of standards such as Oh No Not My Baby. Bob Dylan was a popular choice and songs recorded by this line-up included If You Gotta Go Go Now. The title track of the EP The One in the Middle also showed that the band had a sense of humour. The track was intended for the Yardbirds as Paul Jones had noticed that even bands with fantastic guitarists would find that the fans' attention, mainly girls, would be focused on the singer.

However, changes were afoot. Paul Jones was looking to pursue a solo and acting career but agreed to remain until a suitable replacement could be found. Mike Vickers was looking to move into orchestral, TV commercials and instrumental music. Tom McGuinness moved to guitar and was replaced on bass by Jack Bruce from the Graham Bond Organisation. Bruce played on the hit single Pretty Flamingo. However, he was tempted to rejoin former colleague Peter "Ginger" Baker and Eric Clapton from John Mayall's Bluesbreakers to form Cream. There was also a brass section for a while. Bruce was replaced by Klaus Voorman who had been a close friend of the Beatles during Hamburg days and who had designed the sleeve for Revolver.

Paul Jones left to start his solo career in July 1966 and he was replaced by Mike D'Abo. HMV had signed Paul Jones as a solo artist but were not interested in the remainder of the group. As the band switched from HMV/EMI to Fontana the original record company released a greatest hits called Mann Made Hits as well as an EP of unreleased tracks called As Was. There also followed an LP of instrumentals (except one track) called Soul of Mann. A single called You Gave Me Somebody to Love was completed with session musicians and the group disowned the track.

Shel Talmy who had been the original producer of the Who and the Kinks produced the new single and the first on Fontana, Bob Dylan's Just Like a Woman. By now the group was moving away from its jazz and blues roots and spending more time in the studio. A number of classic singles followed including Semi-Detached Suburban Mr James, Ha Ha Said the Clown and another Bob Dylan cover The Mighty Quinn.

The group performed the title track to the film Up The Junction and this was also released as an album. After two more hit singles, My Name is Jack and Fox on the Run, the group split in 1969.

Manfred Mann had hits in the 1970s with Manfred Mann's Earth Band. Tom McGuinness teamed up with Hughie Flint to form McGuinness Flint with hits including When I'm Dead and Gone. Klaus Voorman was part of Paddy Klaus & Gibson.

Later, Paul Jones and Tom McGuinness reunited in The Blues Band. More recently, Jones, D'Abo, Hugg and McGuinness have played classic hits as The Manfreds.

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