Thursday, January 23, 2014

Manfred Mann's Earth Band: Spirit in the Night

Just as Manfred Mann in the 1960s recorded several songs by Bob Dylan, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band in the 1970s chose to record three songs penned by Bruce Springsteen. Released under three different titles, Springsteen’s “Spirit in the Night” was issued twice as a single for Manfred Mann’s Earth Band with two different vocalists.

In 1975, the album “Nightingales and Bombers” listed the tune as “Spirits in the Night.” Mick Rogers was the vocalist on this version as well as for the first single release in 1976. The single listed the correct title of “Spirit in the Night.” This first version charted at #97.

In 1977, Manfred Mann re-released a remix of the single featuring Chris Thompson on vocals. Thompson joined the band in 1976 and replaced Rogers. This single release featured the abbreviated title of “Spirit.” The second time around the song barely made it into the Top 40 by charting at the #40 position.

The singles, issued under different numbers, featured unique flipsides. One of the interesting aspects of the two singles is that the phonodisc (p) copyright for the 1976 version has a 1976 date; however, the copyright for the 1977 version is 1975 and lists their UK label of Bronze Records' logo, which is absent from the first single. Unfortunately, I could only find the Mick Rogers rendition and would have liked to feature his and Thompson’s version for comparison purposes.

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