Manfred Mann (real name Mike Lubowitz) was a jazz player in South Africa, moved to the U.K. in 1962, where he met Mike Hugg, forming the Mann-Hugg Blues Brothers with Hugg on drums.Tom McGuinness came along in1963, then Mike Vickers on Guitar filled out the group.
They debuted at the marquee in March ’63 and established themselves as a popular band in the Southern club scene.The story goes that when they were looking for a vocalist, they approached Paul Jones saying they were looking for a blues shouter.
Jones replied saying he was a blues singer, not a shouter. How right he was, along with John Lennon Paul Rodgers and rod Stewart he is one of the best singers to emerge from the invasion bands.
And, a superb harmonica player as well.
With the name change to Manfred Mann and the Manfreds, then just the Manfred Mann, things started to move for the band. Signed to H.M.V., they scored their first hit with “5 4 3 2 1” in February 1964.
Next came “Hubble Bubble”, in April, reaching Number 11 on the U.K. Charts. Then, they struck gold with the cover of the Exciters hit, “Doh-Wah-Diddy-Diddy”.This went to No. 1 in the U.K., Canada, the U.S and Australia.
The hits came thick and fast after that, “Sha La La” in October, the romantic “Come Tomorrow” January ’65, then “If You Gotta Go”, and “Pretty Flaming” in’65 and ’66.Paul Jones departed after this, and was eventually replaced by Mike D’Abo. Tom McGuinness left and Jack Bruce took over bass in 1966.
I was lucky enough to see Manfred Mann three times, the first time as the original line up in 1965, (with the Kinks and Tony Sheveton,) where they performed brilliantly.
Next, in May 1971 they came as Manfred Manns Earthband, touring with Deep purple and Free. What a line up!
The line up then was Manfred, Mick Rodgers, (familiar to Australians for having been with Procession and Bulldog, two great Australian Bands) Chris Slade on drums, (later to be with AC/DC) and Colin Patterson on bass.
The last time, sometime in the late 90’s I saw the with Tom McGuinness, Mike D’Abo, Paul Jones “ ..so you get two vocalists for the price of one”, said Paul) Rob Townsend on drums and Benny Gallagher. A truly great performance.
The Manfred Mann later line ups, with Mike D'Abo and later line ups will be looked at in future pages
Luckily there is a bit of the original Manfred Mann on vinyl. As usual, there are different releases in the U.S. to the U.K.
This album, the first one release by H.M.V. in October 1964, a very competitive time for music in the U.K. containes some classic blues covers, Smokestack Lightning, Sack o' Woe, Hoochie Coochoe Mann, I'm Your Kingpin, and others. It went for a very impressive 39 minutes in length, and was described by reviewers as one of the strongest of the invasion albums.
Now, if you are a real fan of Manfred, here is an album to get! A great collection of Manfred Mann Greatest Hits, all the recordings from 1964 to 1967, apparently put together with the approval of the band.
Here you get the original "Five Faces" album, plus "Mann Made Hits" which does include all the hits, plus extra albums "Mann Made" and "Soul of Mann". What more could you want?