Blinded by the Light - the Bruce Springsteen original
Have you ever had that experience where you hear a song and you’re convinced it’s by one artist, only to find out later that it was actually a cover? It’s like biting into a chocolate chip cookie and realizing it’s oatmeal raisin - a betrayal of the senses.
Take for example the song “Blinded by the Light.” For years, many people, myself included, thought that Manfred Mann’s Earth Band was the original artist. But as it turns out, it was Bruce Springsteen who wrote and performed the song. I may as well turn in my music critic union card now, for the shame of it. Somehow, I’ll blame this ignorance on my upbringing. Sorry, Mum.
With Blinded, Springsteen shows, yet again, that he is a master songsmith. A great song is one that can be dismantled and reconstructed in unimaginable ways and still have its quality shine through, blindingly.
Upon analyzing the lyrics, one may suspect that Springsteen had been bitten by a radioactive rhyming dictionary. A lesser artist would have fallen victim to such excess, but Springsteen proves to be a master of his craft, skillfully navigating his newfound abilities to produce some form of melodic grandpa rap that somehow works.
Manfred Mann’s Earth Band covers Blinded by the Light
The original version of the song is a classic in its own right, but Manfred Mann’s Earth Band took it to new heights, incorporating a plethora of electronic elements that altered the song’s tone and energy. While some may argue that Mann’s version lacks the authenticity of the original, there’s no denying the sheer power of the synth-driven instrumentation and catchy chorus. It’s a weird one, to say the least. It’s like ordering a pizza with pepperoni and mushrooms, only to find out it’s topped with deviled eggs and fondue.
The cover took Springsteen’s song and added a bunch of synthesizers and electronic effects to it, creating a sound that was completely different from the original. And that chorus - ‘Blinded by the light, revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night’ - what in the world does that mean? Springsteen says it’s about a two-seater car, but Mann subtly mispronounces the lyric and the world has heard ‘wrapped up like a douche’, which has propagated through the generations like a decades-long game of Telephone. One person hears it wrong, and then everyone else hears it wrong too. What once elicited visions of fast cars has turned to feminine hygiene.
Comparing Springsteen and Mann
With Blinded, Springsteen demonstrates his songwriting prowess once again, proving that a great song can withstand even the most imaginative of covers.
Manfred Mann’s version of Blinded was a huge hit in the late 70s. It was everywhere, like a catchy jingle you just can’t get out of your head. And if it ain’t broke, why fix it, right? They created something unique and masterful and wholly their own.
But when you listen to the Springsteen original, you can feel the authenticity that just can’t be replicated. The lyrics are sharper, the music is rawer, and the vocals are more heartfelt. It’s like comparing a cheap fast food burger to a gourmet steak dinner. Sure, they both satisfy your hunger, but one just hits different.
In the end, both versions of Blinded are great in their own way. It’s hard to say which one is better, like trying to choose between two flavors of ice cream you love. But for me, the Springsteen original just has that special sauce that can’t be replicated.
I rate the Manfred Mann cover four douches wrapped up in confusion out of five, and the Springsteen original an eight revved-up deuces out of seven. Math … what is it even?
Please enjoy these rejected cover images for this article.