For this edition of The Original Vs. The Cover, we are going to explore the Bruce Springsteen song “Blinded by the Light” which was later covered by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band. For Bruce, it was his first single in the U.S. off his 1973 debut album, Greeting From Asbury Park, N.J. And…it flopped! Manfred Mann’s version was released in 1977 and went all the way to #1 and I believe it was Bruce’s first #1 song and his only. It took someone performing his song for him to get a #1 song…interesting considering how much he is acclaimed as being The Boss.
The song was very auto-biographical for Bruce. There were a ton of references to friends, his youth experiences and even him getting sick. The song came about because the record company felt he needed a single. So, sitting in his bedroom with a rhyming dictionary, Bruce threw so many words together and came up with this beast. He went nuts with the words and threw everything in, but I don’t see the kitchen sink.
As I said, the song flopped in the U.S. and it was probably because it had so many words. No person listening to the radio could remember all the words. The chorus was catchy, no doubt, but it is a difficult song to get in to with the way it is presented. Bruce vocals are done in a singing / speaking format rather than full on singing which is typical Bruce.