On February 19, 1977, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band reached the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for singles. The song “Blinded by the Light” had been at #3 the previous week, but after 14 weeks on the charts, it made the leap to knock Mary MacGregor’s “Torn Between Two Lovers” from the top position. The song would reign at #1 for one week — only to be knocked back to #3 by Eagles’ “New Kid in Town.”
“Blinded by the Light” is a song Bruce Springsteen wrote for his 1973 album Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.. Springsteen wrote it, and the song “Spirit in the Night,” after Clive Davis, the president for Columbia Records, mentioned he wanted a single for the album. Columbia released Springsteen’s “Blinded by the Light” as a single, but it didn’t chart.
The British rock band Manfred Mann’s Earth Band recorded “Blinded by the Light” for its The Roaring Silence album. The band chose the song because it had had chart success in 1975 with their version of Springsteen’s “Spirit in the Night.” For their cover version of “Blinded by the Light,” Manfred Mann’s Earth Band added synthesizers and organ to give the song a prog-rock, pop feel.
The lyrics to the song were also changed. Springsteen’s original line “cut loose like a deuce” became “revved up like a deuce.” But American radio audiences misheard the new lyric. Revved up sounded like wrapped up, and a lisp caused deuce to sound like douche. The new version caused a sensation among radio listeners and, decades later during a VH-1 Storytellers program, even Springsteen would laugh that Manfred Mann’s decision to rewrite the song as a feminine hygiene product made it all the more popular — and gave Springsteen his first #1 single as a songwriter.
The album version of “Blinded by the Light” is more than seven minutes long, and the radio edit for the single chopped it down to 3:48. Here’s the album version of Manfred Mann’s Earth Band cover of “Blinded by the Light.”
Manfred Mann’s Earth Band would release another cover from Springsteen’s Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. as single. “For You,” from the album Chance was released as a single in 1981.