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Blinded by the Light

"Blinded by the Light" is a song written and recorded by Bruce Springsteen, which first appeared on his 1973 debut album Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. A cover by British rock band Manfred Mann's Earth Band reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States in February 1977 and was also a top ten hit in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada.

History

The song came about when Columbia president Clive Davis, upon listening to an early version of Greetings from Asbury Park N.J., felt the album lacked a potential single. Springsteen wrote this and "Spirit in the Night" in response.

According to Springsteen, he wrote the song by going through a rhyming dictionary in search of appropriate words. The first line of the song, "Madman drummers, bummers, and Indians in the summers with a teenage diplomat" is autobiographical—"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; "teenage diplomat" refers to himself. The remainder of the song tells of many unrelated events, with the refrain of "Blinded by the light, cut loose like a deuce, another runner in the night".

"Blinded by the Light" was the first single from Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. Springsteen's version was commercially unsuccessful and did not appear on the music charts.

Cover versions and reissues



Manfred Mann's Earth Band released a version of the song on their 1976 album The Roaring Silence. Their version includes the "Chopsticks" melody played on piano near the end of the bridge of the song. The track reached #1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Canadian RPM charts. Manfred Mann's Earth Band's recording of "Blinded by the Light" is Springsteen's only #1 single as a songwriter on the Hot 100; his highest charting single as a solo performer was "Dancing in the Dark" in 1984, which reached #2 on the Hot 100, and his only #1 was as part of the USA for Africa ensemble that recorded "We Are the World".

In 2002, Danish act Funkstar De Luxe released its disco version of this song. A "jazzified" version can be found on Springsteen's 2007 video and audio release Live in Dublin, recorded with The Sessions Band.

A cover of the song by The Eagles of Death Metal was featured in the 2018 film Super Troopers 2.

Lyrics

Manfred Mann's Earth Band's recording of the song changes the lyrics. The most prominent change is in the chorus, where Springsteen's "cut loose like a deuce" is replaced with "revved up like a deuce". The lyric is a reference to a hot rod "deuce coupe". Springsteen was fond of classic hot rods in his youth, hence the line "cut loose like a deuce, another runner in the night". Springsteen has joked about confusion over the lyrics, claiming that it was not until Manfred Mann rewrote the song to be about a feminine hygiene product that it became popular.

Musicians

Original version
  • Bruce Springsteen – vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards
  • Vini "Mad Dog" Lopez – drums, backing vocals
  • Clarence Clemons – saxophone, backing vocals with
  • Harold Wheeler – piano

    Manfred Mann's Earth Band cover
  • Manfred Mann – organ, piano, keyboards, backing vocals
  • Colin Pattenden – bass
  • Dave Flett – guitar
  • Chris Hamlet Thompson – vocals, guitar
  • Chris Slade – drums, backing vocals with
  • Doreen Chanter – backing vocals
  • Irene Chanter – backing vocals
  • Susanne Lynch – backing vocals

    Chart performance

    Weekly charts

    Year-end charts