That Band That Did That One Song: "For You" by Manfred Mann's Earth Band



Welcome to the maiden installment of "That Band That Did That One Song", where we shine a loving light on the bands behind those monster radio hits we've been digging all these years.  
Our goal, of course, is to make as many readers as possible slap themselves in the forehead the moment they put two-and-two together.  So without further a-do-do-do-de-da da dah.

If we don't all know the words to that monster of a chorus, with its tension-relieving power chords and staccato piano stabs, by heart, we've at least heard the tune a million times.

So why is it nine-and-a-half people (on second thought, it was probably rude of us to expect a serious answer out of that "half guy") out of ten have no idea that Manfred Mann's Earth Band did the amazing tune "For You"?

Those who take the time to immerse themselves in this band's music and backstory will find a lot to sink their teeth into:  

Hmm, kinda looks like a Wire album.
For starters, "For You" was a gigantic radio hit, which it remains to this day, but never released as a commercial single in the good ol' USA.  As a result, the loosely conceptual album from which it came, Chance, stalled at a lowly #87 on the Billboard chart.

How does that happen?  

Oh, did we mention that "For You" wasn't actually written by the band, but by a fellow going by the name of Bruce Springsteen?  Yes, that Bruce Springsteen.

If all of this gives you an odd sense of deja vu, that's most likely due to the fact that Manfred Mann's Earth Band had scored a hit in 1976 with "Blinded By The Light" - also a cover of a Bruce Springsteen song.

And there goes that forehead slap I warned you about.

Thing is, the reason nobody knows that the same band is responsible for two of the most-played songs on rock radio over the past FIVE decades is most likely because they're sung by different dudes.  "Blinded" had been sung by Mick Rogers, who left the band before the song became a hit.  "For You" was sung by Chris Thompson (seen in the above YouTube clip).

Pretty cool, huh?

At this point, we simply issue a challenge to those who've been reading along and saying, "Tell me something I don't know"...what THIRD Bruce Springsteen song did the band record prior to "Blinded By The Light", but re-issue afterwards in an attempt to capitalize on that song's success?



The answer is "Spirits In The Night", taken from their 1975 album Nightingales and Bombers.  So, all of this begs the thought...why hasn't Bruce ever hooked up with these guys?  They obviously have an affinity for interpreting his material - much like The Byrds had with Bob Dylan -and they aren't all that different from the E Street Band in a lot of ways and both he and the band are still active concerns.

Just throwing that one out there.

Regardless, for those wanting a real musical treat, we urge you to check out the band's 1980 album, Chance, as it's a tasty synth-heavy rock album that was very much ahead of its time.  Agreed, they weren't the most photogenic band to ever hit the stage, which is probably why their output during the "MTV years" is largely ignored, but when the jams are this good, who cares?  The album opener, "Lies" (which we'll be discussing next week for a completely different reason, so stay tuned!), will also have you slapping your forehead again for not have known of its existence until now.

You're forgiven, of course, better late than never!

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