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Springsteen Wrote ‘Blinded By The Light’?

The Boss’s Early Career

This is a great example of how someone who writes the song may not be the best person to sing it, interpret it, or turn it into a hit.

Bruce Springsteen wrote ‘Blinded By The Light’ and put it on his 1973 album Greetings From Asbury Park N.J., an album whose poor sales would lead to Bruce Springsteen receiving an ultimatum: write a single we like, or we’ll pull your recording deal. ‘Born To Run’ was the result of that life-changing demand.

Manfred Mann’s Earth Band had a #1 hit with ‘Blinded By The Light’ just three years later!

 

Genesis of the Song

 

After being asked by Clive Davis to create a single for the Greetings From Asbury Park N.J. because he felt the album didn’t have one yet, Springsteen created ‘Blinded By The Light’ by going through a rhyming dictionary. The first line of the song, “Madman drummers, bummers, and Indians in the summers with a teenage diplomat,” has several autobiographical elements:

  • “Madman drummers” is a reference to drummer Vini Lopez, known as “Mad Man” (later changed to “Mad Dog”)
  • “Indians in the summer” refers to the name of Springsteen’s old Little League team
  • The remainder of the song is driven by the rhyming dictionary and are at best snapshots of unrelated events
  • The original chorus is: “Blinded by the light, cut loose like a deuce, another runner in the night”

Manfred Mann’s version had several lyric and arrangement changes, including the most prominent change in the chorus, replacing “cut loose like a deuce”with “revved up like a deuce,” making it one of the most controversial songs of the 70s for radio listeners.

With no lyrics available and poor quality sound systems their only avenue for discerning the cavalcade of words, the song will forever be associated with a feminine hygiene product.

 

Springsteen’s Version

 

 

Manfred Mann’s Earth Band (on The Midnight Special)

 

 







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