Song: “Blinded By The Light” by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band
Reached #1: February 19, 1977 (their first, 1 week)
It’s all about the lyrics – the difficult-to-decipher lyric that has led inner children of all ages to giggle about douches running in the night.
Ironically, in the live version I linked to above, it’s clear exactly what Mann sang (which isn’t exactly what Bruce Springsteen wrote) – “revved up like a deuce”. Springsteen’s original lyric was “cut loose like a deuce”… the reference is to a “deuce coupe” like the one the Beach Boys sang about back in 1963.
Once you clear that up, it becomes obvious that the lyrics are pretty much incomprehensible… really, you go read the lyrics and try to figure out just what the hell Springsteen was getting on about. Calliopes crashing, a “go-cart Mozart”, “little Early-Pearly in his curly-wurly”? Honestly? If I thought Springsteen did drugs, I could at least justify the lyrics, but as far as I know, that’s not his thing. It does make a good karaoke song if you’re bombed, though, as you can mumble just about anything and people will think you’re singing the song (especially if they’re bombed, too).
What’s most interesting, to me, is that this is the only #1 single Springsteen has ever written (to date). All the coherent message songs he’s written, those never made the top. This slightly psychedelic, poetic, off-beat composition? It goes to #1. Go figure.
Tomorrow, a girl group whose first version was fired two years after forming, and whose second version almost immediately scored a then-record four top 10 hits from their debut album…
Other songs that reached #1 on February 19:
1966 – “Lightning Strikes” by Lou Christie (his first, 1 week)
1972 – “Without You” by Nilsson (his first, 4 weeks)
1983 – “Baby, Come To Me” by Patti Austin with James Ingram (her first, 2 weeks)
2000 – “Thank God I Found You” by Mariah Carey featuring Joe and 98 Degrees (her fifteenth, 1 week)
2011 – “Black and Yellow” by Wiz Khalifa (his first, 1 week)