Song Of The Day 1/27/2013: Manfred Mann's Earth Band - "Drowning On Dry Land/Fish Soup"

Manfred Mann was well-known for two big singles in the 1960's, specifically "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" and "The Mighty Quinn." Then Mann decided, once the '60s were over, enough of this folderol, no more of this dickin' around, I'm gonna go out and get me an Earth Band.

So the two distinct eras of Manfred Mann -- indeed, of his Mann-hood -- can be distinguished by the fact that the first period of Manfred Mann lacked an Earth Band, whereas the second mach of Manfred Mann came complete with Earth Band in tow. In addition, while the first Mann band produced singles with unassailable hooks, the second Mann Band -- that is to say, the Earth Band -- decided to prog the hell out of themselves.

Manfred Mann's Earth Band's biggest prog-rock success was a single called "Blinded By The Light," which was a composition by someone I bet most proggers don't have the highest opinion of, one Bruce Springsteen. The only thing Bruce had in common with prog rockers is that a lot of his early songs went over eight minutes. Nevertheless, somehow Mann, or I should say he and his Earth Band, managed to create a prog pop epic out of "Blinded By The Light."

The album that contained "Blinded By The Light" was called The Roaring Silence, because the sharp juxtaposition of the seemingly opposing words "roaring" and "silence" was believed to be thought-provoking in some way. The next album they made was called Watch, merely a direct, one-word command. It was also ironic because the album Watch is, of course, an audio recording which you're supposed to listen to. You can't "watch" Watch, because it's intended for your ears. There's nothing to watch. This is an example of how Manfred Mann tried to subvert your expectations with his mind-blowing album titles. And could he do this kind of thing without an Earth Band? You kidding? It just wouldn't have been conceivable.

This two-part song is from Watch, which if you're asking me, and I acknowledge you didn't, is a better album than The Roaring Silence, even though it wasn't as popular. And again, the title of the first element of this piece, "Drowning On Dry Land," is another self-contradictory title. I will not address this fact more fully as I am sure your mind is still reeling from our earlier discussion, and I am cognizant the human mind can only handle so much unraveling in one sitting.

There is at first glance no apparent self-contradiction in the title "Fish Soup," although that is entirely dependent upon the culinary customs of your native land.

That's all for today. Our next class is "Dialectics With Supertramp." Bring as many half-rhymes for the word "logical" as you can find. You're dismissed.
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