In its seven year history, Manfred Mann played just about every genre of popular music: jazz, R&B, pop, rock and modern folk.
The group was named after its founder, keyboard player Manfred Mann, born Manfred Lubowitz in Johannesburg, South Africa. He emigrated to England in 1961, making his living as a jazz pianist and teacher, and writing articles under the name Manfred Manne, the surname borrowed from jazz drummer Shelly Manne — he later dropped the “e” and used “Manfred Mann” as his performing name.
With drummer Mike Hugg, Mann organized a seven-piece jazz-blues band that played in and around London in the early Sixties. Ultimately the group was pared down to five, signed a record deal and recorded as its first single an instrumental, “Why Should We Not” in 1963. That record went nowhere, as did Manfred Mann’s second release, “Cock-A-Hoop”, featuring their new singer Paul Jones.
As with many other invasion bands, song number three was the charm. In 1964, ITV asked the group to come with a new theme song for its pop music showcase Ready, Steady, Go. Manfred Mann recorded “5-4-3-2-1”, which reached #5 on the UK charts.
The band covered two girl group songs, “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” (the Exciters) and “Sha La La” (the Shirelles), into their first international hits. “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” reached #1 in the States, and “Sha La La” which peaked at #12. From 1964 to 1966, Manfred Mann followed the formula of releasing singles in the pop genre and albums featuring jazz and R&B. It was also during this period that guitar and sax player Mike Vickers and singer Paul Jones left the band. Vickers was replaced by Jack Bruce, who would later find fame and fortune with Cream. With Bruce on board and before Jones departed, Manfred Mann released “Pretty Flamingo,” which reached #1 in the UK and made the Top 40 in the US.
Replacing Paul Jones was Mike D’Abo. Bruce’s tenure would be short — he reportedly thought Manfred Mann was “too jazzy” for him. Klaus Voorman, who designed the cover of the Beatles’ Revolver album, replaced Bruce on bass. The realigned band scored a UK hit in 1966 with a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Just Like A Woman,” one of many Dylan songs the group would record. Their follow-ups, “Semi-Detached, Suburban Mr James” and “Ha Ha Said The Clown” both reached the top 5, but the instrumental “Sweet Pea” reached only No. 36 and “So Long Dad” missing the Top 50 altogether. In 1968, Manfred Mann released another Dylan song, “The Mighty Quinn,” which reached #1.
Frustrated with the limitations and image of being seen purely as a hit singles band (their last two albums failed to chart), the group split in 1969, while their final hit, “Ragamuffin Man”, was in the Top 10.
Mann and Hugg created a jazz band called Manfred Mann Chapter Three. A few years later came Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, which continues to tour and record. In the early Nineties, the remaining original band members formed “The Manfreds,” which tours the oldies circuit across the continent.
Where Are They Now?
Manfred Mann and his Earth Band have a full slate of performances scheduled in Europe during 2015.
Former Manfred Mann members Mike Hugg, Paul Jones, Tom McGuinness, and Rob Townsend are all playing with the Manfreds, touring Australia in the summer of 2015.
Manfred Mann Videos
“Doo Wah Diddy” (Live performance, 1965)
“Father of Night,” Manfred Mann;s Earth Band live in concert, 2014
MANFRED MANN DISCOGRAPHY
Release date | Title | Top chart position
March 1964 “5-4-3-2-1” –
May 1964 “Hubble Bubble” –
August 1964 “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” 1
October 1964 “Sha La La” 12
January 1965 “Come Tomorrow” 50
May 1965 “My Little Red Book” 124
August 1965 “If You Gotta Go, Go Now” –
February 1966 “She Needs Company” –
May 1966 “Pretty Flamingo” 29
July 1966 “Just Like A Woman” 101
August 1966 “When Will I Be Loved?” –
October 1966 “Semi-Detached Suburban Mr James” –
March 1967 “Ha! Ha! Said the Clown” –
February 1968 “The Mighty Quinn” 10
June 1968 “My Name Is Jack” 104
November 1968 “Fox On The Run” 97
April 1969 “Ragamuffin Man” –