Manfred Mann, aka The Manfreds – they even wrote a hit about it “5-4-3-2-1 it’s The Manfred’s” – were one of the hugely successful British Invasion groups of the 1960’s. Their R&B based pop style with an undercurrent of jazz proved to be a winning combination that competed strongly up against bands like the Beatles and the Stones despite the changing musical trends of the time.
During the decade, first with Paul Jones until 1966 and then Mike D’Abo as lead singers, both with distinctive voices and considered two of the finest singers on the British pop and rock scene at the time, the band had four No.1 and a string of Top 10 singles, all enduringly memorable songs, including 5-4-3-2-1, Do Wah Diddy Diddy, Pretty Flamingo, My Name Is Jack, Fox On The Run, Mighty Quinn, Just Like A Woman, Ragamuffin Man, Semi-Detached Suburban Mr James, and Ha Ha Said The Clown. The other original members were Tom McGuinness (guitar), Mike Hugg (drums), and Mann (keyboards).
By the end of the decade the band had broken up as each of the principals had been keen to pursue solo careers, by this time Paul Jones having already successfully re-established a solo singing and acting career noted for his “I’ve Been A Bad Boy” hit single. The others all went on to achieve solo successes too - Mann, McGuiness, and Hugg in other bands and as music writers and producers, while D’Abo honed his song writing skills, having already penned two songs before the band broke up that turned out to be massive hits for other acts – The Foundations classic “Build Me Up Buttercup” and “Handbags & Gladrags” recorded by Chris Farlowe in 1967, Rod Stewart in 1972, The Stereophonics in 2001 and then later used as the theme to the hugely successful TV comedy, The Office.
As The Manfreds the band reformed in 1991 featuring both lead singers, Jones (lead and harmonica) and D’Abo (lead and keyboards) along with other originals, McGuinness and Hugg, plus enlisting the talents of Marcus Cliff (bass), Simon Currie (saxophone) and Rob Townsend (drums), but no longer with keyboardist Manfred.
Since then, and for much longer than their original Manfred Mann incarnation, The Manfreds have been touring the world performing all the bands hits and those from their respective solo careers, although sadly from time to time having to point out that they are not a tribute band but, with the exception of Mann, the real thing, now even better than before because it contains both the lead singers and benefitting from the experiences borne out of all their respective solo careers.
50 years on, The Manfreds are now considered, more than ever, to be one of the finest and most respected bands from the 60’s; their records having a timeless quality that only a few of the many bands from the era attained. They were always hugely popular in New Zealand. The Manfreds called in some 15 years ago to provide us with a timely reminder, but are finally returning in March and April 2019 to say farewell on an extensive 11-date unmissable tour delivering all their much loved hits performed live for one last time by the original singers.
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