“Blinded by the Light” is a popular rock song originally written and recorded by Bruce Springsteen in 1973.
However, the cover version by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band achieved tremendous commercial success, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1977.
The lyrics of “Blinded by the Light” have been subject to much interpretation and debate, with various theories posited over the years about the meaning behind the song’s cryptic imagery and wordplay.
The song is often interpreted as a reflection on the struggles of young adulthood, with themes of disillusionment, rebellion, and the search for identity.
This article will explore some of the different interpretations of “Blinded by the Light” and uncover the message the song’s writer and performers were trying to convey.
Springsteen’s version of the song is five minutes long, while Manfred Mann’s version is seven minutes long.
The band added several unique instrumentals, including “Chopsticks,” which has a great guitar solo and piano riffs that stand out.
He says, “The original version, which didn’t make it onto the album, was much longer and more complicated than what you hear now.”
“I worked on it for a long time before I realized that we could get somewhere if we didn’t stop and start at the end of every verse.
“When we finally finished the album track, I thought it had a great vibe, but the next question was how to turn that into a single.
The real problem was smoothly transitioning from the chorus to the verse.
Then, our drummer Chris Slade said, “This is why you need to be in a band; play Chopsticks over it.”
Meaning Of “Blinded By The Light” Song Lyrics
Springsteen says he wrote the song by looking through a rhyming dictionary for the right words to use in the lyrics.
“Blinded By The Light” is about the good times and bad times in the life of a young artist.
But the message always shows in a subtle way that the downs are what make great musicians work hard to reach the top of their careers.
It has a high-energy music track, and the lyrics talk about the excitement and hope that only come with being a teenager.
“Blinded By The Light” shows how young people feel invincible because they have so much hope and optimism that anything is possible in life.
The lyrics reflect Bruce Springsteen when he was starting his career.
So, when he took his music to the Jersey Shore and the local music markets in Philadelphia and New York City, he met many different and exciting people.
The first line of the song, “Madman drummers bummers and Indians in the summer with a teenage diplomat,” is likely an autobiographical reference:
“Madman drummers” refers to a drummer named Vini Lopez, who was also called “Mad Man” and “Mad Dog,” among other names.
“Indians in the Summer” is about Bruce Springsteen’s Little League team.
The name “Teenage Diplomat” comes from Springsteen himself.
In the dumps with the mumps as the adolescent pumps his way into his hat
With a boulder on my shoulder feelin’ kinda older, I tripped the Merry-go-round.
According to his Aunt Dora Kirby, the first line is about the fact that Springsteen wouldn’t take off his baseball cap.
A “merry-go-round” is a baseball term for when the pitcher consistently walks batters.
The song keeps going, adding more random events, such as the beginning of verse 4:
Some silicone sister with her manager’s mister told me I got what it takes
She said I’ll turn you on, sonny, to something strong if you play that song with the funky break.
When Manfred Mann’s Earth Band put their spin on “Blinded by the Light,” they changed a few of Bruce Springsteen’s original lines.
Springsteen originally wrote:
And she was blinded by the light
Oh, cut loose like a deuce.
Another runner in the night
The following replaced them:
Well, she was blinded by the light
Wrapped up like a deuce
Another runner in the night
Note that “deuce” refers to a 1932 Ford Model 18 with a V-8 engine.
Car owners and fans often call this two-seater hot-rod car a “Deuce Coupe.”
Fans of the song often need to hear the lyrics more.
For example, they thought the line “Wrapped up like a deuce” sounded like “Wrapped up like a douche,” referring to a feminine hygiene product.
Note that Mann wanted Springsteen to sing the last part of the song as his contribution to the record.
He even tried to get in touch with him and ask him personally, avoiding the long process of going through a manager or publisher.
But in the end, he sang the part Springsteen should have sung.
Ironically, this part of the track seems to be the only place on “Blinded By The Light” where Mann’s voice can be heard.
Blinded By The Light: Life As A Hit Record
“Blinded By The Light” by Manfred Mann‘s Earth Band rose slowly and steadily up the British rock charts, but it didn’t do as well in the United States.
“Blinded By The Light” by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band rose slowly and steadily up the British rock charts, but it didn’t do as well in the United States.
The song’s success was the attention the lyric controversy got.
In the United States, the cover by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band was the number-one song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1977.
It was also one of the top ten songs in Canada, New Zealand, and the UK.
What Makes A Great Song Cover?
The version of “Blinded By The Light” by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band is likely to be more well-known than the original version by the song’s author.
Maybe it was the band’s unique style and sound, but Springsteen’s raw, brilliant words and vision are still at the heart of it all.
What makes a great cover song is the talent that comes through.
Both Springsteen and Mann are skilled and unique musicians; each version is a great and unique piece of music.
“Blinded By The Light” proves that a cover can be as good as the original if done with a healthy mix of creativity and respect for the artist’s original ideas.
Cool Facts About “Blinded by the Light” by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band
“Blinded by the Light” was released as a single in 1976, but it failed to chart.
However, when the song was re-released in 1977 with a remixed version of the track, it became a massive hit, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The song’s success helped popularize synthesizer use in rock music.
Manfred Mann’s Earth Band was one of the first bands to incorporate synthesizers into their music, and their use of the instrument helped to pave the way for future synth-heavy bands like Depeche Mode and New Order.
In addition to its success as a single, “Blinded by the Light” has been featured in several movies and TV shows, including The Sopranos, The Simpsons, and American Hustle.
“Blinded by the Light” was the first single released from Manfred Mann’s Earth Band’s album The Roaring Silence.
The album also included the hit song “Davy’s on the Road Again.”
The song’s music video featured footage of the band playing on a rooftop and was filmed in the exact location of The Beatles’ famous rooftop concert in 1969.
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