Manfred Mann’s Earth Band
Manfred Mann’s Earth Band was formed in 1971 and its present day line up still consists of two of the original members from the seventies’ highly successful days: Manfred Mann on keyboards and Mick Rogers on guitar and vocals, thus reproducing the fans’ favourite songs live with ease. The Earth Band also consists of Steve Kinch on bass guitar, who has been with the band since the 1986 Tour, Noel McCalla, vocalist and percussion, who has worked on two Manfred Mann Albums and toured since 1991, and Pete May on drums who joined for the 2001 European Tour.
Manfred Mann has steered his bands through four decades of musical changes, from the sixties whereby Manfred Mann, the band, enjoyed a string of no less than 18 hit records including three number Ones in the UK: “The Mighty Quinn”, “Pretty Flamingo” and “Do Wah Diddy Diddy”. After that Manfred formed with Mike Hugg, Manfred Mann Chapter III, a jazz rock band which during its short life has been described by Manfred as an over reaction to the hit factory of the Manfred Mann Group. It was however with the forming of Earth Band in 1971 that Manfred was able to find the platform for most of his musical output since then.
From 1971 to 1975 the Earth Band produced six albums, each one showing a band growing in direction and strength. Amongst these was the now classic “Solar Fire” from which was taken the top ten hit “Joybringer” and the Bob Dylan penned “Father of Day” which still is being performed by Mick Rogers on the live shows today. It was however through the live concerts that Manfred Mann’s Earth Band were building a worldwide reputation as a Great Rock Band with a very loyal fan base. In 1975 came a change of line up with a new front man Chris Thompson. The first single release was The Earth Band’s version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Blinded By The Light” which reached Number One in the U.S. Billboard charts and was a huge worldwide hit, as was the album that followed – “The Roaring Silence”.
Although “The Roaring Silence” was a hugely popular album worldwide, going Gold almost everywhere, it was the next album a year later simply called “Watch” that is considered along with “Solar Fire” to be classic Earth Band. As well as the hit singles “Davy’s On The Road Again”, “California” and “The Mighty Quinn” “Watch” featured live favourites such as “Chicago Institute” and for many the ultimate Earth Band anthem “Martha’s Madman”, another song still featuring in the live shows.
Over the years that followed more albums and tours such as “Angel Station”, “Chance” and “Somewhere in Afrika” and a live album “Budapest”. In the late eighties Manfred took some time out of the Earth Band ‘album then tour’ life style to produce one of his personal favourite albums “Plains Music”. This is an album of mostly North American Indian melodies performed by Manfred and some South African musician friends. A new singer was introduced – Noel McCalla – who later took over lead vocals for the early 90’s MMEB European Tours.
A few years passed by, with the band working on another Earth Band Album “Soft Vengeance” with Noel and Chris taking joint responsibility for lead vocals. In 1996 the long awaited new album was released and Manfred Mann’s Earth Band embarked on an extensive European Tour that kept them on the road through the rest of 96 and most of 1997. From this tour many of the concerts were recorded for the definitive live album “Mann Alive” which was released in 1998. The band continue to tour extensively throughout Europe, taking in countries such as Russia and Greece in 2000.
2004 saw the confusingly titled ‘2006’ album released – essentially a Manfred Mann solo album with Earth Band members appearing on it. Earth Band continue to tour extensively and dates into 2010 are already on the calendar. September 2009 saw the departure of long time front man Noel McCalla and so another chapter begins.
Catch them if you can performing their much loved classic hits in front of their hugely loyal and enthusiastic fans.