"The calliope crashed to the ground": Linear and cyclic time in Manfred Mann's Earth Band's blinded by the Light

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Abstract

Manfred Mann's Earth Band's 1976 U.S. number 1 hit "Blinded by the Light," though nominally a cover of Bruce Springsteen's 1973 song of the same name, mingles Springsteen's inspiration with material more readily traced to Terry Riley, the Who, and Mike Oldfield, comprising, I argue, a highly self-conscious engagement with the kind of repetitive musical practices that had been churning toward the popular mainstream since the early sixties. Though the song affirms the traditional teleological mechanisms of the pop song in the broadest structural terms, its prechorus and chorus pit such impulses against cyclic, seemingly non-teleological material, the whole culminating in a satisfying, polyvalent reconciliation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-165
Number of pages19
JournalMusic Theory Spectrum
Volume35
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2013

Keywords

  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Cyclic time
  • Manfred Mann's Earth Band
  • Minimalism
  • Teleology

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